29 June 2012

Discovery of 1300 Year Old Maya Text References 2012 Mayan End Date

1300 year old Mayan stone carvings discovered in La Corona, Guatemala
Much attention has been drawn to the Mayan calendar. The calendar follows a Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar where a 5,125 year long cycle is believed to end on 21 December 2012.

Speculation abound to what the Mayans were expecting on the end date of the calendar. Some believe it is a doomsday prediction and the world will end on that day. Although there is no scientific or even historical proof of this belief, this interpretation on the end of the long count calendar is much talked about.

Scenarios believed to happen on that day are numerous. The sun will release a massive solar flare, the Earth's pole will shift, the Earth will collide with another space object such as an asteroid, etc. etc.

Scientists and historians have dismissed the notion of these doomsday predictions.

NASA's website, Astrobiology, state that, "Calendars exist for keeping track of the passage of time, not for predicting the future. The Mayan astronomers were clever, and they developed a very complex calendar. Ancient calendars are interesting to historians, but they cannot match the ability we have today to keep track of time, or the precision of the calendars currently in use. The main point, however, is that calendars, whether contemporary or ancient, cannot predict the future of our planet or warn of things to happen on a specific date such as 2012..."

Maya archaeologists unearth new 2012 monument

Archaeologists working at the site of La Corona in Guatemala have discovered a 1,300-year-old-year Maya text that provides only the second known reference to the so-called "end date" of the Maya calendar, December 21, 2012. The discovery, one of the most significant hieroglyphic finds in decades, was announced today at the National Palace in Guatemala.

"This text talks about ancient political history rather than prophecy," says Marcello A. Canuto, director of Tulane's Middle American Research Institute and co-director of the excavations at La Corona.

Video: Interview with Canuto and Steward Regarding La Corona Excavation

Since 2008, Canuto and Tomás Barrientos of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala have directed excavations at La Corona, a site previously ravaged by looters.

"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 Barrientos, "so we knew they found something important, but we also thought they might have missed something."

What Canuto and Barrientos found was the longest text ever discovered in Guatemala. Carved on staircase steps, it records 200 years of La Corona history, states David Stuart, director of the Mesoamerica Center at The University of Texas at Austin, who was part of a 1997 expedition that first explored the site.

Carved stone block discovered at La Corona
While deciphering these new finds in May, Stuart recognized the 2012 reference on a stairway block bearing 56 delicately carved hieroglyphs. It commemorated a royal visit to La Corona in AD 696 by the most powerful Maya ruler of that time, Yuknoom Yich'aak K'ahk' of Calakmul, only a few months after his defeat by long-standing rival Tikal in AD 695. Thought by scholars to have been killed in this battle, this ruler was visiting allies and allaying their fears after his defeat.

"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," says Stuart.

So, rather than prophesy, the 2012 reference places this king's troubled reign and accomplishments into a larger cosmological framework.

"In times of crisis, the ancient Maya used their calendar to promote continuity and stability rather than predict apocalypse," says Canuto.

Video: Excavation Shots at La Corona


Tulane University
Middle American Research Institute
Mesoamerica Center at The University of Texas at Austin
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