Our ancestors were incredibly intelligent, and many discoveries over the years have turned up evidence of what they studied and observed. One subject that they especially focused on was astronomy. Some of our ancestors’ most impressive feats were related to what they saw in the heavens.
10. The Dresden Codex
The Dresden Codex is a Mayan manuscript that was given to the Royal Library in Dresden, Germany, sometime in the 1730s. The manuscript didn’t get any real attention until the late 1800s, when Ernst Forstemann, a German mathematician, concluded that much of the book was related to the planet Venus, although no one could read Mayan hieroglyphics at the time. Finally, in the 1920s, John Teeple, a chemical engineer, said that the text was a complex system that tracked the movements of Venus.
The manuscript dates back to the tenth century and was written by an astronomer who dutifully tracked Venus over a 25-year period. All of this occurred 500 years before Copernicus recorded the movements of the planets. Venus’s path was tracked and measured because the Maya timed certain large-scale ceremonies to the planet.