June 30, 2012
Maya 2012 Monument Thought To Be More Political Than Apocalyptic
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Archeologists have uncovered stone carvings that suggest the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 was more about political messaging than making an apocalyptic prediction.
The newly discovered 1,300-year-old inscriptions from the ruins called La Corona, "provides only the second known reference to the so-called 'end date' for the Maya calendar on December 21, 2012," a statement from Tulane University said.
Scholars said the hieroglyphics they found referred to ℠the end´ and to the return of a king, but felt that the predictions were made so far into the future they were intended to give Mayans of the time a sense of continuity and stability.
“This was a time of great political turmoil in the Maya region and this king felt compelled to allude to a larger cycle of time that happens to end in 2012,” said David Stuart of the University of Texas at Austin, who led a dig at the site.
The discovery at the La Corona dig site, which was thought to have been completely raided by looters, occurred when researchers reached the ℠floor level´ of the ancient ruins. The research team said the staircase carvings recount 200 years of local history through 56 individual hieroglyphs.
"Last year, we realized that looters of a particular building had discarded some carved stones because they were too eroded to sell on the antiquities black market," said Tomas Barrientos, of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.
"So we knew they found something important, but we also thought they might have missed something."
The artworks commemorated a visit to La Corona in AD 696 by the most powerful Maya ruler of that time, Yuknoom Yich'aak K'ahk', also called Fire Claw or Jaguar Paw. The royal visit occurred only a few months after the ruler´s military defeat by his long-standing rival Tikal. Originally thought to have been killed in this battle, this powerful ruler was apparently making a political tour of allies to allay their fears after his defeat.
During this tour, the defeated ruler cited the Maya calendar in noting that his rule had started at the beginning of one 394-year endpoint, or Bak'tun. He also invokes the end of another Bak'tun in 2012, to inspire feelings of hope and stability.
"This text talks about ancient political history rather than prophecy," said Tulane professor Marcello Canuto. "This new evidence suggests that the 13 Bak'tun date was an important calendrical event that would have been celebrated by the ancient Maya; however, they make no apocalyptic prophecies whatsoever regarding the date."
Many people around the world have interpreted the end of the Mayan calendar on the 2012 winter solstice as a potential doomsday event and the apocalyptic predictions even inspired a 2009 motion picture. The internet is rife with predictions that the Earth will be swallowed by a black hole, hit by an asteroid or devoured by ancient gods.
Doomsday interpretations of the predictions made by this ancient Mayan ruler seem ironic when their original intent is taken into context.
“In times of crisis, the ancient Maya used their calendar to promote continuity and stability rather than predict apocalypse,” said Canuto.
Image 2 (below): Archaeologists in Guatemala discover 1,300-year-old-year Maya text alluding to “end date” of the Maya calendar, December 21, 2012. Credit: Tulane Public Relations