South American Calendar - Parapegma


"And the whole earth was of one language,
and of one speech."
— Genesis 11:1


Now we can probably say — "And the whole earth was of one calendar."


Encyclopedia Britannica informs us:

"Conon OF SAMOS (fl. c. 245 BC, Alexandria), mathematician and astronomer whose work on conic sections (curves of the intersections of a right circular cone with a plane) served as the basis for the fourth book of the Conics of Apollonius of Perga (c. 262-190 BC). From his observations in Italy and Sicily, Conon compiled the parapegma, a calendar of meteorological forecasts and of the risings and settings of the stars."

Parapegmata are among the oldest calendar instruments from the ancient world. A parapegma was a stone tablet with movable pegs and an inscription to indicate the approximate correspondence between, for example, the rising of a particular star and the civil date. Because the calendar had to be changed regularly to keep the civil calendar in phase with the astronomical one, the parapegma had movable pegs which could be adjusted as necessary.

A parapegma soon also contained meteorological forecasts associated with the risings and settings of the stars and not only were stone parapegma constructed but also ones on papyri. In looking at a parapegma on a particular day, the reader looks for the peg or pegs and simply reads off the corresponding astronomical, or meteorological information for that day.

The basic principle behind an astrometeorological parapegma goes at least as far back as Hesiod (750 B.C.), and probably much farther. The idea was that the annual risings and settings of the fixed stars could be used as indicators of weather, seasons, winds, and more. The farmer or sailor noted the appearance or disappearance of a star in the morning or evening, and used some rule of thumb to predict the coming weather. By the third century B.C. at the latest, these associations of weather and stellar phases had begun to be written up as year-long ordered lists in parapegmata.

Parapegmata have been created and used for centuries.



Roman parapegma


"When the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, are rising,
begin your harvest,
and your ploughing when they are going to set."
— Hesiod (750 B.C.) "Works and Days".


In Roman parapegma (see below), holes are drilled in a stone, and a peg is moved from one hole to the next each day.

Please note: this parapegma shows seven gods (planets) that correspond to the seven days of the week [1].


Roman calendar - parapegma (III - IV c. C.E.)

Photo of Roman parapegma

Drawing of Roman parapegma


The yearly cycle of the Sun is divided into 12 equal parts (12 signs of the Zodiac). Each zodiacal sign is divided into two parts. In total there are 24 holes in the circle.


In this parapegma we see the following parts:

  • At the top there are 7 holes for seven days of the week.

  • There are 24 holes in the circle.

  • The central circle is divided into 4 parts.

  • There is one hole at the centre of a circle.


Using three pegs on this stone calendar it was possible to set:

  1. The Day of week,

  2. The Month,

  3. The Day of month.

Now we shall look at what I have found.



South American Parapegma


The remainders of an astonishing collection are kept in Cuenca, Ecuador. A collection with the following origins. Father Carlos Crespi was a Silesian-monk who lived in Ecuador. He did missionary work among the Indian population in remote valleys during his lifetime. Crespi received or bought these objects from Indians. The Indians got them from subterranean cave systems. Soon a lot of relics were brought together and kept in the courtyard of the church Maria Auxiliadora. Many pieces were destroyed in a fire in 1962 or later when the church was restored. Many were lost or wound up with treasure hunters. Now remainders of the original collection are inaccessible to the public. They are stored in the cellar archive of the church Maria Auxiliadora. Here they wait for their rediscovery.

The age and origin of these items is still unknown today. Father Crespi never tried to classify them. The picture motifs are strange, their meaning not understood. These objects show the pictures of an unknown culture. Were they left by unknown civilizations? The most well known pieces are tablets made of silver, gold foil or other alloys with unknown letters and mysterious symbols.


On the web-page

there is a photo of one object from Crespi's collection — "Round plate with "Asiatic god" (see below).


Round plate with "Asiatic god"


This metal disk with a hole shows carvings of four fishes and ornaments that remind me of Greek patterns. The image in the following circle reminds me of a gear-wheel with 24 teeth. Above the round plate there is an image of the Sun. Between the image of the Sun and circle there is an image of the crescent Moon. In the image of the Moon there are seven circles with holes.


Studying this object, I have come to the conclusion that it is similar to a parapegma. Compare it to an ancient Roman parapegma.


Object from Crespi's collection

Ancient Roman parapegma


Here we see the same main parts:

  • 7 holes for seven days of week (crescent moon with 7 holes).

  • 24 teeth of a "gear-wheel" (these are marked with black and white points).

  • 4 fishes (In our calendar all sequence of years is divided into four-year groups [1]).

  • 1 hole at the centre of a circle.

All these parts coincide with parts of a Roman parapegma.


Moreover, the amount and content of their circles correspond. Both parapegmata have five circles (see below).


Five circles of a parapegma:


1-st — contains one hole.

2-nd — empty.

3-rd — is divided into 4 parts (4 fishes).

4-th — contains an ornament.

5-th — is divided into 24 parts.


It signifies that in ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, and South America, people were using the same calendar - parapegma.

How can we explain this concurrence?





1. Vladimir Pakhomov. "The Mystery of the Calendar", Perth (Australia), "Xerostar Holdings", 2001, ISBN 0-9580150-1-5.

2. Римский календарь-парапегма III - IV вв. (Фрагмент из книги И.А. Климишина "Календарь и хронология")




Updated: November 24, 2015

Copyright © 2005 by Vladimir Pakhomov