Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 July 2011
The aim of this work is to review and expand upon the model proposed by Father José Domingo Duquesne de la Madrid (1745–1821) regarding the calendar of the pre-Columbian Muisca culture of central Colombia. This model was dismissed by scholars in the late 19th century when it was called just a simple invention of a clergyman; however, a detailed analysis shows that his interpretation of the calendar was based on genuine ethnographic information. According to Duquesne, this calendar was based on a series of moons whose multiples are 5, 20 and 37. These multiples generate time series that can be comparable to our years (37 moons), centuries (740 moons, or 59.8 years) and millennia (14800 moons or 1196 years). According to the information provided, these long time spans can be tracked up to a period of 74000 moons (5978 years). The work of Duquesne provides us some clues about the state of timekeeping traditions in pre-Columbian societies of the Intermediate Area.