The world won't end next month, Maya experts insist

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 southeastern Mexico.

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 archeologist Jose Romero told AFP.

The stone, known as Monument 6, was located in El Tortuguero, an archeological site that was discovered in 1915.

Broken in six pieces, the different fragments are exhibited in US 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 archeologists 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 final date represents the end of a cycle in the Mayan long count calendar that began in the year 3114 before Christ. It is the completion of 13 baak t'uunes, a unit of time equivalent to 144,000 days.

"It is not the end of the Mayan long count calendar, which is endless. It's the beginning of a new cycle, that's all," said Mexican historian Erick Velasquez.

Though the Maya made prophecies, they looked at events in the near future and were related to day-to-day concerns like rain, droughts, or harvests.

The belief that the calendar foresees the end of the world comes from Judeo-Christian interpretations, the experts said.

Velasquez warned against giving too much weight to Monument 6, noting that it is just one of more than 5,000 stones from the Mayan culture that have been studied.

The Earth still has a few years left, even in eyes of the ancient Maya: Some stones refer to the year 7000.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines calls on ASEAN to urge China to halt land reclamation
    Philippines calls on ASEAN to urge China to halt land reclamation

    The Philippines called on its Southeast Asian neighbours to unite in urging China to halt reclamation of land in the South China Sea, but the call failed to raise widespread support ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas. Its claims overlap with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in filling in land in contested territory …

  • Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions
    Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions

    Indonesia on Sunday signalled it was determined to push ahead with the execution of eight foreign drug convicts, despite a growing wave of global condemnation led by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- that they would be executed by firing squad imminently, along with an Indonesian prisoner. The group have been moved to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where …

  • Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea
    Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Philippines on Sunday urged its fellow Southeast Asian countries to take immediate steps to halt land reclamation by China in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, warning that failure to do so will see Beijing take "de facto control" of the area. …

  • Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in disputed waters
    Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in disputed waters

    The Philippines on Sunday called on neighbouring Southeast Asian nations to push for an immediate halt to China's reclamation in the disputed South China Sea ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, with overlapping claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in contested …

  • President to appeal for Filipina's life at Malaysia summit
    President to appeal for Filipina's life at Malaysia summit

    The Philippine president said Sunday he would appeal for mercy for a Filipina who is due to be executed in Indonesia in two days' time. President Benigno Aquino said he would take the opportunity to seek clemency for Mary Jane Veloso, who is due to be put to death on Tuesday, while in Malaysia for a regional summit Monday. "Once I am there, I will try to speak to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia to appeal once more for her case," Aquino said. She was arrested in 2009 with 2.6 kilograms …

  • U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions
    U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to Indonesia on Saturday not to execute 10 prisoners, including two Australians, for drug-related crimes. Indonesia has so far informed seven of the 10 death row inmates, including the Australians and one Nigerian, that they will be executed in a matter of days, possibly as soon as Tuesday. Nationals from Brazil, Ghana and the Philippines are also on Indonesia's death row. A temporary reprieve was granted to a French citizen who will not …

  • Beijing 'poised to take de facto control' of S. China Sea'
    Beijing 'poised to take de facto control' of S. China Sea'

    Beijing is poised to take "de facto control" of the South China Sea, the Philippines warned Sunday, but its call for a robust Southeast Asian response at a regional summit was shot down. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic body of water, but Beijing claims nearly all of it, and its increasingly strident territorial assertions have caused concern in the region and beyond. "(China) is poised to consolidate de facto control of the South China Sea," …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options