Mayan calendar and December 21, 2012

Dec 18, 2012

Don't feel compelled to mark every item off your bucket list just yet. 

Reports that the Maya calendar calls for the end of the world Dec. 21, 2012 are inaccurate, says SMU Brigitte Kovacevich, an expert on Maya culture.

  • The Maya used a number of different calendars, which scholars interpret in different ways. One of the calendars turns over, much like an odometer, on Dec. 21 or 23, 2012. The last time that this odometer turned over in the Maya – August 11, 3114 B.C. – it was an event of creation, not destruction.
  • Only two out of all Maya sites refer to 2012, and they use the date as a rhetorical device, not a prediction. Other monuments predict events still thousands of years in the future.
  • The Maya text often cited as predicting the end of the world, the Dresden Codex, does not mention 2012. Another famous text, the Chilam Balam, does make dire predictions for certain period endings, but this book dates to the 15th and 16th centuries and was written after the Spanish conquest and heavily influenced by that event and .
So why the fuss?

The prophecies about 2012 are a collection of myths and legends, independent of academic scholarship, spread by television, commercial publications and digital , Kovacevich says. Not only are they inaccurate, they exploit, misrepresent and romanticize the Maya culture, she says.

Explore further: Earlier Stone Age artifacts found in Northern Cape of South Africa

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Maya demand an end to doomsday myth

Oct 25, 2012

Guatemala's Mayan people accused the government and tour groups on Wednesday of perpetuating the myth that their calendar foresees the imminent end of the world for monetary gain.

11/11/11: Anthropologist debunks doomsday myths

Nov 03, 2011

University of Kansas anthropologist and Maya scholar John Hoopes and his students are watching predicted doomsday dates such as 11/11/11 and Dec. 21, 2012, with considerable skepticism.

Maya archaeologists unearth new 2012 monument

Jun 28, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Archaeologists working at the site of La Corona in Guatemala have discovered a 1,300 year-old year-old Maya text that provides only the second known reference to the so-called “end date” ...

Mayan glyphs detail priest's life, blood sacrifices

Dec 29, 2009

Experts are studying the first Mayan hieroglyphic script dealing with the life of a high priest, his blood sacrifices and acts of penance, Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said.

Mexico acknowledges 2nd Mayan reference to 2012

Nov 25, 2011

Mexico's archaeology institute downplays theories that the ancient Mayas predicted some sort of apocalypse would occur in 2012, but on Thursday it acknowledged that a second reference to the date exists on a carved fragment ...

Recommended for you

West US cave with fossil secrets to be excavated

Jul 24, 2014

(AP)—For the first time in three decades, paleontologists are about to revisit one of North America's most remarkable troves of ancient fossils: The bones of tens of thousands of animals piled at the bottom ...

Radar search to find lost Aboriginal burial site

Jul 22, 2014

Scientists said Tuesday they hope that radar technology will help them find a century-old Aboriginal burial ground on an Australian island, bringing some closure to the local indigenous population.

User comments : 0