A kʼatun (//, Mayan pronunciation: [kʼaˈtun]) is a unit of time in the Maya calendar equal to 20 tuns or 7200 days, equivalent to 19.713 tropical years. It is the second digit on the normal Maya long count date. For example, in the Maya Long Count date 220.127.116.11.12 (December 5, 2006), the number 19 is the kʼatun.
The end of a kʼatun was marked by numerous ceremonies and at Tikal the construction of large twin pyramid complexes to host them. The kʼatun was also used to reckon the age of rulers. Those who lived to see four (or five) kʼatuns would take the title 4-(or 5-)kʼatun ruler. In the Postclassic period when the full Long Count gave way to the Short Count, the Maya continued to keep a reckoning of kʼatuns, differentiating them by the Calendar Round date on which they began. Each kʼatun had its own set of prophecies and associations.
- Coe, Michael D. (1992). Breaking the Maya Code. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05061-9. OCLC 26605966.
- Martin, Simon; Nikolai Grube (2000). Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya. London and New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05103-8. OCLC 47358325.
- Schele, Linda; David Freidel (1990). A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya. New York: William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-07456-1. OCLC 21295769.
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