The recent unearthing of the Mayans' oldest calendar suggests that the notion of a December 21, 2012 apocalypse was, in fact not only wrong, but highly misinterpreted. According to Live Science
, the calendar was found on a beautifully painted wall within the ruins of a city in the Guatemalan rainforest.
"The Mayan calendar is going to keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future," said University of Texas archaeologist David Stuart
, who studied the red and black painted hieroglyphs. "Numbers we can't even wrap our heads around."
The glyphs accompany a colorful mural featuring a seated king boasting a scepter and blue feathers along with his attendants. As Irish Times
reports, the glyphs were consorted with columns of bars and dots (the dots being the number one and the bars being the number five) noting the positions and movements of stars and planets.
The glyphs and murals were apparently used as reference material for count scribes back in 800 A.D. These scribes being the equivalent of modern day think tank participants.
The previous idea that the Mayans predicted the end of the world on December 21, 2012 was due to the fact that it was the end of the 13th calendar cycle or "baktun," which last 400 years or 146,000 days. In the past the earth's life was only said to span these 13 baktuns, but as International Business Times reports, this newly-unearthed calendar in fact has 17 seasons. All December 21 is supposed to mark is a new beginning, and not a fiery end.
Anthony Aveni, professor of astronomy and anthropology at New York's Colgate University explained the Mayan calendar
, comparing it to the odometer in a car: "with the Maya calendar rolling over from the 120,000s to 130,000. [It] gets a step closer to the junkyard as the numbers turn over; the Maya just start over."
Xultun, the site where the calendar was found, was already discovered 100 years ago, but the actual room was picked up on in 2010. Xultan, an ancient kingdom deep within the rainforests of Guatemala, was once home to tens of thousands of people. Several thousand structures have yet to be explored.
"It's weird that the Xultun finds exist at all. Such writings and artwork on walls don't preserve well in the Maya lowlands, especially in a house buried only a meter below the surface," said Boston University's William Saturno
"The state of preservation was remarkable," said Saturno
regarding the remaining hieroglyphs and murals which have a tendency to be easily destroyed by heat and rain.
The findings, which included some paintings of male figures in very good condition, as well as some artwork never seen before, have been published in the journal Science
and the May 29 issue of National Geographic