he authenticity of the Grolier Codex has been disputed for the last four decades. A group of researchers who revisited the rare Maya text now argue that there’s no way it could be a forgery.
If the 800-year-old Grolier Codex is indeed authentic, it would be the oldest known paper manuscript from the Americas, and one of just four Maya codices that are known today.
The fragmentary codex is made up of 10 painted pages full of Maya hieroglyphs, depictions of deities and a calendar that tracks the movement of the planet Venus, which was important for keeping religious rituals. The calendar spans 104 years, meaning the codex could have been used by at least three generations of calendar priests or “day-keepers,” the authors of the new study wrote. For the Maya, Venus was an omen for unfortunate events, and the different cycles of the planet were linked to particular gods—most of whom are depicted in the Grolier Codex as dangerous, holding weapons like spears, darts and knives used for beheading.