Friday, May 11, 2012

The world may not end soon predicts newly found Mayan calendar

The earliest known Mayan calendar has been found in an ancient house in Guatemala and it offers no hint that the world's end is imminent, researchers said Thursday.

Never-before-seen artwork on walls of a Maya house in the ruined city of Xultun in northeastern Guatemala 

The walls reveal the oldest known astronomical tables from the Maya. Scientists already knew they must have been keeping such records at that time, but until now the oldest known examples dated from about 600 years later.

Astronomical records were key to the Mayan calendar, which has gotten some attention recently because of doomsday warnings that it predicts the end of the world this December. Experts say it makes no such prediction. The new finding provides a bit of backup: The calculations include a time span longer than 6,000 years, meaning it could extend well beyond 2012.

Trees grow on top of a recently excavated mound built by the Maya that contains the rendering of an ancient figure, possibly the town's scribe 

contains the rendering of an ancient figure, possibly the town's scribe (Reuters)

"Why would they go into those numbers if the world is going to come to an end this year?" observed Anthony Aveni of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, an expert on Mayan astronomy. "You could say a number that big at least suggests that time marches on."

Aveni, along with William Saturno of Boston University and others, report the discovery in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

The room is part of a large complex of Mayan ruins in the rain forest at Xultun in northeastern Guatemala. The walls also contain portraits of a seated king and some other figures, but it's clear those have no connection to the astronomical writings, the scientists said.

Four long numbers on the north wall of a ruined Mayan house relating to the Maya calendar and computations about the moon, sun and possibly Venus and Mars

13 years. The researchers said they think it might have been used to keep track of which deity was overseeing the moon at particular times.

Aveni said it would allow scribes to predict the appearance of a full moon years in advance, for example. Such record-keeping was key to Mayan astrology and rituals and could have been used to advise the king on when to go to war or how good the year's crops would be, he said.

"'What you have here is astronomy driven by religion," he said.

On an adjacent wall are numbers indicating four time spans from roughly 935 to 6,700 years. It's not clear what they represent, but maybe the scribes were doing calculations that combined observations from important astronomical events like the movements of Mars, Venus and the moon, the researchers said.

Why bother to do that? Maybe the scribes were "geeks ... who just got carried away with doing these kinds of computations and calculations, and probably did them far beyond the needs of ordinary society," Aveni suggested.

Experts unconnected with the discovery said it was a significant advance.

"It's really a wonderful surprise," said Simon Martin, co-curator of an exhibit about the Mayan calendar at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

While the results of the scribes' work were known from carvings on monuments, "we've never really been able to identify a working space, or how they actually went about things," Martin said.

The new work gives insight into that, he said, and the fact the room had a stone roof rather than thatching supports previous indications that the scribes enjoyed a high social standing.

"It's a very important discovery. We're only getting a glimpse of it" in the published paper, said John B. Carlson, director of the Center for Archaeoastronomy in College Park, Maryland.


  1. lol we found it just in the nick of time

  2. To my limited knowledge, I didn't think the story behind the end of the Mayan long count calendar (abruptly ending at the end of the 13th Baktun, or something to that effect), meant the physical "end of the world". More like a passage into a higher state of consciousness. Of course, I have nothing solid to base this on.

    I thought there was a legend that accompanied this, where the Mayan deity Quetzalcoatl passes through the center of our galaxy (or through some form of portal).

    Just as "Apocalypse" is popularly understood as a great cataclysm, but is also defined as a written revelation of something once hidden (rather benign, in comparison) - the "End of the world" could mean something entirely different from what popular fear mongers would like us to believe.

    Keep an open mind.

  3. The calendar never said the world would end, it said the age of the 4th Sun would end.

  4. "'What you have here is astronomy driven by religion,"

    Gee, thats the motto of 2012!

    I sense a pattern.....................

  5. The world ends every time someone dies.

    I've always entertained and even expressed an honest desire to die the day before the day the world ends.

    Hot one, ain't it?

  6. Yeah! What a coincidence. (Sigh of relief). Amazing, how the scientists found this just in time!

    The Mayan Elders have been shocked about the false propaganda from the originator of the End of the World myth, Jose Arguelles. He took only a few Mayan symbols, and ran with them to the Mass Media.

    Since then, the Mayan Elders have been going worldwide informing of this, that Arguelles never took the trouble to learn 2000+ more symbols.

    The Mayan Elders state that their Main Calendar ENDED in the late 1980s,and we, Humanity, has been "writing" our own Reality, since then. There NEVER was any dire predictions about 2012.

  7. Fred Douche' (pronounced Dew-shay)May 12, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    google '2012 movie end of the world' and it will take you here:

    this whole end of the world mayan calander nonevent is nothing more than a manufactured hollyweird publicity stunt.

    And as far as 2012 the movie goes I believe that it is time to call in the bomb sniffing dogs.

    The Mayans were astral psychics. Right!

  8. Can anyone say..."Life of Brian"?

  9. Nothing new about this other than that 2012 is coming up.
    Archeologists have said for over a decade that there were dates after the Long Calendar's end of the Fourth World.
    While the Mayan empire is long since gone, an ending generally attributed to massive bloodshed, some of their trading partners are still around in NM and AZ. These tribes also have mythologies about an upcoming ending of the world followed by the birth of a new world, and about prior cycles as well- a feature also common with the Mayan religion.

  10. 'Maybe the scribes were "geeks ... '

    Geeks say 2012 scare a bust. I'll trust the Geeks over the non-Geeks any day. Go nerds !

  11. Maybe the Mayan calendar writer was lazy enough. he may have decided to finish it first up to Dec. 2012 and then will write again starting 2013 to 2099.

  12. Why are scientists so quick to attribute intelligence to barbarians?

  13. 2012 will no doubt be the year of the Warning! The warning will be miniature judgement on all humans. We will receive this gift from GOD! He will allow us to see our own souls as he does. We will all have a choice to make. Live a life of good or evil. This will determine our destiny of Heaven or Hell.

    1. How can you possibly base your religious "warning or miniture judgement" on a prediction made by an ancient astrologer, who believed in many different gods, & attribute this to your GOD? These people were primitive in many ways, although accomplished in astrology. They even practiced human sacrifice! They didnt believe in Heaven & Hell, or any other monotheistic or Christian, Muslim, or Jewish precepts. From the beginning of time, man has predicted the end of the world. Every culture or religion has its own end of days scenario. The Mayan calendar is no more valid in this respect than any other theory in all of history.

  14. How quick we are to want to believe in Mayan Calenders, aliens, cults etc... Why do we believe in these kind of things and turn God away as if He is not real. the truth? It's not the end of the world, it's the end of the world as we know it. Heaven and Earth will become one. Please don't be too quick to turn away from the truth of God. We have a choice - Heaven or Hell. You choose. We all have free will to choose. It's a real shame how sin is no longer considered sin in our world. Think and you will see the truth.

  15. Isn't it an amazing coincidence that we have a president who embraces what has been deemed immoral for thousands of years in the same year the world is supposed to end. Wonder if it's connected?

  16. Eating shellfish has been considered an abomination for the past 2000 years - yet.. well ;) they're so tasty. If the world ends I'll atribute it to the eating of shellfish, working on saturdays, wearing multi-fabric clothing and so on ;)