Mesoamerica’s IZAPA Temple Center (1500 BC-400 AD) So. Mexico located at 15 degrees North Latitude-Calendar Round dates recorded from 3120 BC.

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A - 2015 Izapa_SS_outside covers 3-8 (1)

                         Izapa Sacred Space by V. Garth Norman                                                                 Birthplace of the Maya Calendar                                                       Home of  the Tree of Life

Izapa located at 14.8° North Latitude is the birthplace of the Sacred 260-Day Maya Calendar–discovered by Dartmouth Professor Dr. Vincent Malmström (1973, 1997–Cycles of the Sun, Mysteries of the Moon: The Calendar in Mesoamerican Civilization).

A Formative map 3

  Mesoamerica Formative era major sites: 1500 B.C. to 250 A.D

The Antiquities of Mesoamerica were constructed using BABYLONIAN and EGYPTIAN CUBITS (First reported by Garth Norman at the Sixth Palenque Round Table, 1986, Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico).

Western Guatemala’s POPOL VUH – Sacred book of the Quiche Maya originally written in Spanish ca. 1550 (Recinos 1950:5, 77-80)  

“Preamble. . .This is the Quiche, by the tribes of the Quiche nation. . .”the Popol Vuh, as it is called, cannot be seen any more in which was clearly seen as the COMING FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SEA . . . . Great were the descriptions and the account of how all the sky and earth were formed, how it was formed and divided into four parts, how it was partitioned, and how the sky was divided, and the measuring-cord was brought, and it was stretched in the sky and over the earth, on the four angles, on the four corners, as was told by the Creator of and the Maker, the Mother and the Father of Life. . .”

June 20-27, 2010 The Maya Conservancy (Georgeanne Johnson-President) sponsored a tour with 13 Quiche and a dozen Maya scholars.

Quiche Mayan Elders performed their sacred 260 Day ceremony at Izapa for the first time in 1,000 years, to witness this important site as a possible ancient temple center of their ancestors. Here it is believed the Maya calendar originated during the Late Preclassic formative period (c.a.400 B.C.). Right – Rigoberto Itzep clothed in Ceremonial white with headscarf, shawl, apron and sash. He burns incense as he blesses the Izapa Temple Center.

Click below to view a short Power Point of the new 2017:                                 IZAPA VISITOR CENTER-1-3pptx [Autosaved]

L-R: Sergio Navas, Rudolfo Juan Flores, Alberto, Garth Norman, Jason Jones

Izapa Visitor Center: Artist Israel Ramos, Owner Antonio D’amiano Atristain & wife Mirna Janet standing in front of the new Center.

The Cubit Connection: Babylonian and Egyptian Cubit standards were used to construct Mesoamerican antiquities.

LaVenta Park - Royal Babylonian Cubit measures

Olmec (1500 B.C.- 500 B.C.) LaVenta Park Stela carving was created using the Royal Babylonian Cubit.


Izapa, Mexico (500 B.C. – 600 A.D.) Stone monuments were created with Babylonian cubit measurements.

Palenque Palace - T Window measure

Maya (200 A.D.- 800 A.D.) Palenque Palace, Mexico – T Window created with Babylonian Cubit measurements.

“The Mother and Father of Life, he who gives breath and thought, she who gives birth to the children, he who watches over the happiness of the people, the happiness of the human race, the wise man, he who meditates on the goodness of all that exists in the sky, on the earth, in the lakes and in the sea.” (Popol Vuh Recinos 1950:5, 78-80)

Click to view Maya Ceremony at Izapa–Dec. 3, 2010: Dias de las Mujer

Izapa Temple Reconstruction

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LARGEST Early Maya TEMPLE CENTER on the Pacific Coast of Southern Mesoamerica (500 B.C.-400 A.D.).  Izapa has 33 PYRAMIDS & 10 PLAZAS, 90+ CARVED STONE STELAE.  The Izapan cultural period influenced virtually all of the rising ancient Mesoamerican cultures –1) BABYLONIAN & EGYPTIAN cubits measured ancient structures,  2) the SACRED 260 DAY calendar originated at Izapa, & 3) ancient CHOCOLATE commerce  throughout Mesoamerica came from the region of Izapa (Norman 2015; Coe: 2015). 

Calendar - CR Map 2                      OLMEC——IZAPAN*——MAYA                          1500 BC——-500 BC——-200AD

  • Izapa-located at 14.8° North Latitude-where the Sun Zenith Passage measures SACRED 260 DAYS (August 13 to April 30) discovered by Dartmouth Professor Dr. Vincent Malmström (1973, 1997-Cycles of the Sun, Mysteries of the Moon: The Calendar in Mesoamerican Civilization.
  • Stelae are aligned astronomically to Sun, Moon & Venus cycle rises on the eastern horizon.
  • CALENDAR ROUND at Izapa has a continuous running day count from creation of 3120 B.C., the Base Date of the Maya Creation 260 Day Ceremony.
  • Ancient BABYLONIAN & EGYPTIAN cubits and Ancient Geometry were used to create the stone carvings and the Temple Center planning and positioning of Mounds.
  • The human LIFE CYCLE STORY carved on monuments, expresses man’s creation from a pre-mortal realm, mortal road of life and immortal destiny back to the heavenly realm.
  • Some POPOL VUH Stories (sacred book of the Quiche Maya of Guatemala) are represented on some Izapa carved stelae.

2-2Izapa Horizon w Venus on top

“E” (above)=position of the Zenith Sun Passages on August 13 & April 30 on Izapa’s eastern horizon. Yellow in the circle below shows the 260 days measured between the two appearances of the Zenith Sun Passage at Izapa when there are no shadows at noon.

A-37-3 Izapa Circle Cal

“260 Days is the 9 month creation, gestation, zenith cycle ending with the birth of a human baby–the summum bonum of all creation” (Norman 2015:90). 


       AS S-10 VGN NWAF







Stela 8 (above) begins 260 days             Stela 10 (right) shows a spirit child in clouds descending to its pregnant mother reclining by a Tree of Life.

Izapa Plaza B’s “Throne” (next to the left pillar) aligns with the Sun Zenith Passages and also the constellation Orion. 


August 13, 2012 crowd at Izapa raise their hands at noon and shout when the Zenith sun is directly overhead and casts no shadow. 







Detailed Resume

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Advanced Degrees-Brigham Young University: 1980-MS Anthropology/Archaeology; 1976-MA Ancient Studies. Research Specializations: Mesoamerican Civilization-Izapan Culture, Epigraphy, Archaeoastronomy, Geometry & Measure; Great Basin Prehistory-Rock Art and Astronomy; Middle East & Mesoamerica. Arrangement and supervision of major archaeological research projects.


  • Peru – Archaeo-astronomy Research 2014
  • Mesoamerica – Archaeology & Astronomy Research 2004-2015
  • Jerusalem, Israel – Archaeo-astronomy Research Fieldtrip – April 2008
  • Saudia Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Israel – Geometry/Measure reconnaissance Fieldtrip – September 2006
  • Parowan Gap, Utah – Archaeo-astronomy, petroglyph Research and Study – 1993-2003
  • Fieldwork U.S. Southwest 1980-present
  • Fieldwork at Izapa, Mexico; Archaeo-astronomy Research at Izapa, Chiapa de Corzo and Teotihuacan, Mexico–1976-1980.
  • Museum and Archaeological sites study throughout Mexico and Yucatan – 1973, 1976, 1980’s, 1999, 2006.
  • Exploration of archaeological site of Giengola, Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico-1972.
  • Photographic project of Tres Zapotes, LaVenta, Izapa, Mexico and Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala. Also, ethnographic travel and study through Guatemala Highlands-1966.
  • Archaeological excavation at Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas, Mexico-1965.
  • Archaeological reconnaissance in Tamaulipas, Puebla, and Coatzacoalcos River, Mexico-1963.
  • Archaeological study at sites of San Lorenzo, Tenotchitlan, Izapa, Monte Alban & Mitla, Mexico-1963.


Over 40 years of professional archaeological research experience and cultural resource contract work in the Intermountain West and in Mesoamerica. Authored over 250 professional papers and contract reports. Director of Archaeoogical Research Consultants since 1982. Author of numerous archaeological research papers and reports. Leading Mesoamerican scholar in iconographic research of Izapan culture. Research associate with BYU New World Archaeological Foundation, 1965-1976 with publication of the 2 volume monograph on Izapa Sculpture (Paper #30, 1973, 1976). Indian Area LDS EDucation Coordinator in Nevada and Arizona 1965 to 1976. Traveled the world pursuing studies in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.


Traveled widely and participated in numerous professional archaeological symosiums in

the USA, Canada, Mexico, Europe. Member American Anthropological Association (AAA),

Society for American Archaeology (SAA), and Utah Professional Archaeological Council. Participant in Anthropological Symposiums with Cambridge University in England, Sorbonne University in Paris, Harvard University, Dumbarton Oaks, University of Texas, Santa Fe Archaeoastronomy Conference, Palenque Roundtable, Maya Meetings, National University of Mexico, University of Maryland, International Congress of Americanists, Utah Professional Archaeological Council (UPAC), American Rock Art Research Association (ARARA), Great Basin Conference, Society for Early Historic Archaeology, Ancient America Foundation, Brigham Young University.


Extensive field experience in identification, evaluation, and reporting of prehistoric and historic cultural resource sites, with expertise in basic lithic and ceramic identification and in rock art analysis of Archaic, Fremont, Anasazi, and Shoshonean sites (1977 to present).


Director, Principal Investigator, and Archaeological Consultant for cultural resource evaluations for private and government contracts in the Intermountain West (1982 to present). Discovered the first sun-oriented and shadow-calendar petroglyphs in Utah at three sites in the Book Cliffs and Uintah Basin, and reported at the Great Basin Conference in 1980 (“Identifying Solstice and Equinox Petroglyphs in North-eastern Utah and Their Cultural Relations”). Norman introduced his rock art solar calendar research method the same year to the Utah Rock Art Research Association with positive results. He researched and documented numerous other calendar petroglyph and observatory promontory sites across the Colorado Plateau over the next decade before starting the Parowan Gap project (1993-2003) culminating in the publication The Parowan Gap-Nature’s Perfect Observatory (CFI-available

Major government cultural resource contracts completed with ARCON include: An Evaluation of Ten BLM Land Tracts for Section 203 Sale in Northern Utah (Contract No. UT-910-CT3-434: 1984), and a State Lands Survey for a chaining project at the Indian Peak State Game Preserve (No. U-89-AK-485a; 1989).

Major private cultural resource contracts completed include a Tar Sands Survey in the Sunnyside area for Edison Power; a survey for I-80 Construction in Box Elder County, Utah; Coal Lease subsidence surveys in Central Utah; various surveys for I-70 Construction in Central Utah; Canal Rehabilitation and road construction surveys in Duchesne and Uintah Counties; a Will Tell Fiber Optic Cabel Survey in Juab and

Millard Counties sub-contract with Nickens and Associates.

Sub-contracts completed with AERC include the 1990-91 Capitol Reef Park Service field survey, Seismic Surveys in San Juan and Grand Counties, and in northwestern Colorado; a Seep Ridge Road Construction Survey in Uintah and Grand Counties; a Coal Lease survey in East Mountain for

Utah Power and Light; and extensive drill location, access road surveys and mitigation excavations for Conoco Oil Company in Rio Blanco County, Colorado.


Manager Cultural Resources. Manager, Principal Investigator, and Archaeological Consultant for cultural resource evaluations for private and government contracts in Intermountain West and North Dakota (1980-82). Planning, Monitoring, and control of contract research projects. Supervision of up to 20-person staff in field survey, library research, laboratory analysis, and report preparation work.

Specialized in major government contracts for the Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Land Management.

Cultural Resource contracts completed include: Class I Survey of the Central Utah Area; Flaming Gorge Peaking Power Project; Duchesne River Area Canal Rehabilitation Program; Portions of the UPALCO Unit; Steinaker Reservoir Land Sales; Starvation Reservoir Land Sales; Deer Creek REservoir Land Sales; and Diamond Fork Reservoir.


Archaeologist and Field Director for AERC (1977-1980). Participant in numerous cultural resource evaluations and industrial development projects under government and private contracts throughout Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, and Idaho. Major Cultural Resource Surveys include: Survey Director for the BLM Natural Buttes Project in northeastern Utah (94 40-acre sample units); Survey Director and co-author for the BLM Mapco River Bend Study (109 40-acre sample units). Participating archaeologist in test excavations conducted by AERC near Jensen (1978), Mt. Carmel Junction (1980), and in the Sawtooth Mountain Locality of Idaho (1980).


Research Associate/Archaeologist (1965-1977). Conducted Izapa (Mexico) monuments study involving field work and extensive library research. The effort culminated in publication of a two volume 450-page monograph, Izapa Sculpture & Album (1973, 1976), recognized as a major pioneering study of iconography, cultural history, religion, and myth of Izapan (pre-Mayan) civilization. Publication Coordinator and Museum Displays Production (1975-1976). Coordinated publication of Monograph for NWAF. Designed and produced museum educational displays.

Brigham Young University, Department of Archaeology–Archaeologist. Member of a five-person team conducting a reconnaissance in Mexico to locate sites for subsequent intensive evaluation, 1964. Participating archaeologist in excavation of Hinkley Fremont site populations, 1965-1976.

Additional work & hobbies:

Private Pilot, 1969-1973.

Finish Carpenter, 1955-present (periodic).

Sergeant, U.S. Army, 1953-1954- Korean War

Biography, Short Bibliography

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V. Garth Norman, ARCON, Inc. Archaeologist, Archaeo-Astronomer–Director, Principal Investigator. Norman has specialized in Epigraphy and Archaeoastronomy of Izapa and its monuments for over 40 years. Norman’s pioneering study of Izapa Sculpture for the New World Archaeological Foundation resulted in three publications (1, 2, 3 below), all definitive foundational works for ongoing Izapa research. His current Izapan studies are rewriting Formative Mesoamerican history and their influence through migrations to South and North America (4 below). Norman holds graduate degrees in Ancient Studies and in Archaeology-Anthropology from Brigham Young University. He is affiliated with many research organizations and has participated internationally with numerous professional symposiums, most frequently with the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). He has lectured widely, including at the National Museum of Anthropology and History in Mexico City on the “Origin of the Maya Calendar at Izapa” (August 17, 2012), and has given lectures from 2010 to 2018 in Tapachula & Tuxtla Chico, Chiapas, Mexico. Garth and his wife Cheryl are the parents of three married daughters, 16 grandchildren (4 married) and three greatgrandchildren. Norman’s books are listed for sale on

       Cubit Connection in Ancient World Migrations (2019)

Izapa Sacred Space: Sculpture Calendar Codex (2015) Birthplace of the Maya sacred 260-Day Calendar.

Izapa – A Self-guided Tour Book (2010) in English & Spanish

Astronomical Orientations of Izapa Sculptures. 1980. Original sightings of Izapa Sculptures, Mounds and Monuments to the eastern horizon sun, moon, star and planet rises.

Izapa Sculpture: Album & Text  (Published 1973, 1976) Leading authority in iconographic research of Izapan (early Maya) culture.

The Parowan Gap-Nature’s Perfect Observatory. 2007 where the Izapan 260-Day sacred calendar was defined in petroglyphs and with rock cairns.

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Parowan Gap Archaeological Project, Preservation Enhancement (1993-2004). Major project with federal and private funding under contract with Parowan City and Iron County. Conducted archaeological preservation-enhancement study of the famous Parowan Gap petroglyph site. Emphasized archaeology and archaeo-astronomy investigations of petroglyphs and related sites.

Pyramid of Pacal

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Izapa Temple Palenque ruins exhibit the Mesoamerican Standard Measure and Geometric planning discovered in 1980 by Garth Norman. The excellent precision drawings of Palenque panels by Merle Green Robertson, Linda Schele, and Alfred Maudslay, made my task of checking geometric structure in the five major Palenque slab sculptures a truely rewarding exercise. The Palenque panels express an unsurpassed vitality for utilizing the geometric mandala frame with great variety of artistic creativity. The consistency of their golden mandala formats seem self evident. Divisions in the Palace hieroglyphic panel (below) were obviously dictated by the underlying Golden Mandala format. The center point was interestingly reserved for reference to the ancestral King Pacal in the text. Centers on all carvings are easily located between base and side mandala border references. The open top (except Sarcaphogus lid below), seems to refer to the unbound sky as expressed on Izapa sculptures in upward sloping sky panels. The composition of the Foliated Cross panel to my Golden Mandala reconstruction (as with other Palenque panels) appears self evident. Palenque Tablet of the Foliated Cross - Geometric Structure

Palenque Tomb Sarcaphogus Lid Tree of Life Ascension (compares to Izapa Stela 25)

The perfection of the Golden Mandala composition is reflected in mirror images and glyph columns on opposite sides of sculptures that conform to geometry lines. The composition and theme of Pacal’s Sarcaphogus Lid carving are distinctly rooted in the Izapan tradition, best manifest on Izapa Stela 5. This Palenque carving is unsurpassed in Mesoamerican art for its beauty in expressing immortality. I believe the geometry dramatizes that theme. In addition to the conch, Pacal is being lifted by the long-lipped masks beneath his foot and in back of his head. Pacal is in the midst of flowering through the action of the sun (Kin glyph) on the crown of the earth monster. He sits directly on a budding blossom. Death is evident in the Cimi glyph at the right, but life out of death is manifested in the tri-partite leaf plant projecting from it. As with most dramatic death scenes at Izapa (Stelae 12 and 50), the focus of death here is unmistakably toward a subsequent heavenly ascension.

Measurements of antiquities at Palenque

Further evidence is added through measurements of Palenque sculpture (Classic Maya) during a 1986 field study and from excellent scaled drawings of Merle Greene Robertson. Life size stucco-ed Maya figures on temple wall panels and pillars have hands and fingers curved in gestures for the full forearm length to be measured along the back of the hand and around the fingers. Regardless of the different gestures, forearms of four out of the six intact figures in the Palace are the same length–49.5 cm. Babylonian Cubit. An added surprise came in finding that intact feet on these figures are consistently half the arm length (24.75 cm.) indicating that the foot acts in conjunction with the arm as a standard measure.


A double Royal Babylonian Cubit is found on forearms of the carved giants in the north court of the Palace, and a smaller carved figure in that court measures a full RB Cubit – 49.5 cm.

Other measures reveal the RB Cubit was used in Palenque architecture. Some T-shaped windows in the Palace are exactly 1 RB Cubit high and 1 RB cubit wide. Others that differ may have been the work of less skilled masons. Four out of six hieroglyphic panels in the west wall of the Palace’s north court are one RB Cubit square.

49.5 cm. RB cubit

49.5 cm. Royal Babylonian cubit

Palenque figure's arm (elbow to finger tips) = 49.5 cm. Royal Babylonian Cubit

Palenque figure's foot measures half of arm's 49.5 cm. Royal Babylonian Cubit

Palenque figure’s foot measures half of arm’s 49.5 cm. Royal Babylonian Cubit

Parowan Gap, Utah

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The Parowan Gap-Nature”s Perfect Observatory by V. Garth Norman ( &

Parowan Gap expanded Power Point with videos (To view: copy & paste this link into your browser & download the PPt from Dropbox): )

Parowan Gap, Nature

Parowan Gap, Nature”s Perfect Observatory

Parowan-Gap petroglyphs & astronomy – Click to view pdf The spectacular sunsets on April 29 and August 12 highlight the main inscriptions of the Parowan Gap, Utah, petroglyph calendar ( ca.700 A.D.) which correlate with ancient calendars of Mesoamerica. Garth Norman has spent 40 years researching the ancient site of Izapa (500 B.C.) in southern Mexico and was intrigued to  find that later region created a similar but natural “temple center” at what is known today as the Parowan Gap, So. Utah. These ancient “astronomers” recorded sun solstice and calendar system where

hundreds of petroglyphs on the Gap cliffs interact with an extensive observatory system composed of over twenty-five stations where sunsets and sunrises were viewed through the Gap Narrows to mark key dates. Norman began explorations at the Parowan Gap in southwestern Utah in 1993, and in 1996-2003 undertook a major preservation enhancement study of the Gap for Iron County and Parowan City under a joint federal and public funded project. Evidences from this project show that the primitive culture of Fremont Indians (ca. 700-1200 A.D.) of Utah had sophisticated astronomical knowledge. Excavation of a cave shelter

Jerusalem Temple Mount

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April, 2008 John Pratt, Lance Harding, Garth Norman in front of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Astronomical and measurement readings were taken from the Temple Mount looking east to the Mount of Olives, also from key observation points beyond the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem Temple Mount-Dome of the Tablets and Dome of the Rock

Jerusalem Temple Mount-Dome of the Tablets and Dome of the Rock

New Proposed Location for Solomon’s Temple by John P. Pratt, V.Garth Norman, Lance Harding, and Jason Jones Exactly where was Solomon’s temple located? Virtually all investigators agree that it was on the Temple Mount Platform in Jerusalem, but its precise location has been in question. This article proposes a new location on that platform, where no building presently exists. If correct, then Solomon’s temple could be restored without affecting the magnificent Muslim mosque, the Dome of the Rock, which is situated where most scholars believe Solomon’s temple stood.

Garth Norman measures stone on Jerusalem Temple Mount 49.5 Royal Babylonian Cubit

Garth Norman measures stone on Jerusalem Temple Mount 49.5 cm. Royal Babylonian Cubit

The evidence presented here was discovered by our team who were sent to Jerusalem April (2008) to research the Temple Mount and surrounding area. Team leader Garth Norman is a professional archaeologist with decades of expertise in archaeoastronomy, Lance Harding is an expert in structural design comparative study of temples, Jason Jones was our field work engineer and facilitator, having previously lived in Jerusalem, and John Pratt is an astronomer specializing in ancient sacred calendars. The research funding was arranged by Vern Swanson-Springville Museum of Art & Lyle Mortimer-Cedar Fort Publishers, Springville, Utah. Historical Background King David, the father of Solomon, was commanded by the seer Gad to build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah, the Jebusite. David purchased the site and obeyed (2 Samuel 24:11-25). David himself was not allowed to build the temple, but was told that his son Solomon would accomplish that great task (1 Kings 5:5). The magnificent temple was seven years in construction and was finished in King Solomon’s eleventh year of reign (1 Kings 6:38). All tradition and evidence indicate that Solomon’s Temple was build at or near David’s Altar, atop the hill formerly known to Abraham as Mount Moriah. It is believed that it was the location of Abraham’s offering of his son as a sacrifice (Gen. 22:2), and hence the mount is sacred to all believers in Abraham, including Muslims, Hebrews and Christians. The Temple Platform is located near the southeast corner of the old walled city of Jerusalem. Solomon’s Temple was built during the tenth century B.C. and lasted until it was destroyed in 587 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He took into captivity those of the Kingdom of Judah who were not slain or scattered, where they remained until the Persians conquered his kingdom. To read the entire article where evidence is presented for the location of Solomon’s temple, go to: Ancient seaside fortress-Oman, So. Saudia Arabia Ancient Oman Fortress stone measures Babylonian cubit

Assyrian warrior's height measures a Royal Babylonian Cubit

Assyrian warrior’s height measures a 49.5 cm. Royal Babylonian Cubit

Egyptian figure inside Geometry planning

Egyptian figure inside Geometry planning with 52.5 cm. Royal Egyptian cubit

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