Relax doomsayers, the Maya people did not really mark their calendar for the end of the world on December 21, 2012. As tourists book hotels rooms in Mexico’s Maya Riviera and Guatemalan resorts ahead of next month’s fateful date, experts are busy debunking the doomsday myth.
The apocalyptic prophecy that has inspired authors and filmmakers never appears in the tall T-shaped stone calendar that was carved by the Maya around the year 669 in south-eastern Mexico.
Maya were not preoccupied with apocalypse
In reality, the stone recounts the life and battles of a ruler from that era, experts say. Plus, the last date on the calendar is actually December 23, 2012, not the 21st, and it merely marks the end of a cycle.
So no need to build giant arks, because the terrible floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions depicted in the Hollywood blockbuster 2012 were not prophesied by the Mayas.
“The Mayas had a cyclical idea of time. They were not preoccupied with the end of the world,” Mexican archaeologist Jose Romero said.
The stone, known as Monument 6, was located in El Tortuguero, an archaeological site that was discovered in 1915.
Broken in six pieces, the different fragments are exhibited in U.S. and Mexican museums, including Tabasco’s Carlos Pellicer Camara Anthropology Museum and New York’s Metropolitan Museum.
The first study on the stone was published by a German researcher in 1978. Since then, various archaeologists have examined its significance and agree that it refers to the December 23 date.
“The last inscription refers to December 23, 2012, but the central theme of Monument 6 is not the date, it’s not the prophecies or the end of the world. It’s the story of (then ruler) Bahlam Ajaw,” Romero said.
“The beginning of a new cycle, that’s all”