C is for Calendars from Ancient History

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I am happy to be guest posting here today at Dusty’s site! Today my post is on an ancient calendar that we have learned a little about in our home recently. There are so many amazing calendars from ancient history that it was hard to choose what to focus on. We decided to learn more about the Aztec Calendar, also called the Sunstone. The kids thought this one looked the coolest!

Aztec Calendar Craft

A little mini history lesson on the Aztec Calendar first:

The Aztec calendar, also called the sun stone was divided into 260 days. The calendar was used Priests used to keep track of religious ceremonies and rituals. A huge calendar stone was constructed of clay and was in the Aztec temple. It measured 12 feet in diameter and weighed 24 tons.


There were 20 symbols (each representing an Aztec god), and 13 numbers. Like gears, each of the 20 symbols lined up with each of the 13 numbers. The 13 day period like an Aztec week. Each day was ruled by a god, and each of the weeks were also ruled by a god – the one associated with the first day.

These cycles formed a 52 year “century”, also called the calendar round. Every month had a name, and the days of the month were numbered from one to twenty. The days of the last month were numbered from one to five. The year was divided into 18 months, each with 20 days. In each of these months there was a feast in honor of one or more of their gods based on the seasons. At the end of the year were five unlucky days, when people stayed indoors.

Aztec Sunstone Calendar Craft:

We wanted to do our own sunstone calendar carvings. I made some homemade clay to do it.

Our clay recipe:
2 c. flour
1 c. salt
1 c. hot water

Mix well. Roll out and shape into a circle. We carved it with come clay knives that we had, but you could use any sharp tool. Once it is ready, bake it at 250 degrees for about an hour, until hard.

aztec sunstone carving

My daughter wanted her painted, because everything looks better in color! 🙂


We also learned about the different symbols and what they mean. This site had lots of great details. I also liked this site– it had a great free printable of the symbols that we used to learn more about each of them. We used it to do a little hide and seek- find the symbol on the calendar.


To see all posts in this series, click the image below:

Series Pic

Karyn blogs at Teach Beside Me where she shares about her homeschooling adventures with her 4 young children.


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