October 1, 2012
Mayan Calendar Does NOT Predict December 21 Apocalypse
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
The apocalypse is not going to happen in December, according to a group of experts who are spearheading efforts to educate people about prophecies made by the ancient Mayan civilization.
According to the Daily Mail, a team of archaeologists, anthropologists, and other experts met on Friday in the city of Merida, Mexico, to discuss the Maya Long Count Calendar and recent fears that the Mesoamerican civilization predicted that the world would end on December 21, 2012.
That calendar is made up of 394-year periods known as baktuns, the UK newspaper explained, and began in the year 3114 BC. On or around December 21, the calendar would have completed 5,125 years of 13 baktuns, and while those with an in-depth knowledge of Maya culture say that 13 was a "significant" number for them, they see the date ending of this period as "a milestone -- but not an end."
"Fears that the calendar does point to the end have circulated in recent years," Associated Press (AP) reporter Adriana Gomez Licon wrote on Friday. "People in that camp believe the Maya may have been privy to impending astronomical disasters that would coincide with 2012, ranging from explosive storms on the surface of the sun that could knock out power grids to a galactic alignment that could trigger a reversal in Earth's magnetic field."
However, National Institute of Anthropology and History archaeologist Alfredo Barrera told Licon that, while the Maya people did make predictions, they did not do so in "a fatalistic sense." Rather, they foretold events such as disease epidemics, droughts, or other events that they believed could occur again sometime down the road.
Additionally, other experts told the AP that there are Maya monuments that discuss events much further into the future -- well beyond the December 21 apocalypse they supposedly prophesized.
"The ancient Maya clearly believed things would happen far into the future from now," University of California, San Diego anthropologist Geoffrey Braswell told the AP via email. "The king of Palenque, K'inich Hanaab Pakal, believed he would return to the Earth a couple of thousand years from now in the future. Moreover, other monuments discuss events even before the creation in 3114 B.C."
Licon said that there are only a pair of stone carvings that refer to the 2012 date at Maya sites, and that experts claim that neither of them link the date to the possible end of the world.
"The Maya long count system is like a car odometer," Braswell explained, referring to the older style of analogue mileage counters. "My first car (odometer) only had six wheels so it went up to 99,999.9 miles. That didn't mean the car would explode after reaching 100,000 miles."