The Mayan calendar many believe predicts the end of the world actually indicates the beginning of a new calendar cycle, according to a new archaeological find.
After uncovering a mural in Mayan ruins in Guatemala, researchers say the ancient people did not think the end would come on 22 December 2012.
On the wall of a tiny structure buried under forest debris in Guatemala, archaeologists have discovered a scribe’s notes about the Maya lunar calendar, which they say could be the first known records by an official chronicler of this ancient civilization.
These notes pertain to the same Maya calendar that is sometimes erroneously thought to predict the world’s end on or about Dec. 22, 2012. The researchers who helped uncover and decipher the wall’s inscriptions said the Maya calendar foresaw a vast progression of time, with the December 2012 date the beginning of a new calendar cycle called a baktun.
“They were looking at the way these cycles were turning,” said William Saturno of Boston University, an author of an article on the find in the journal Science. “The Maya calendar is going to keep going and keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future, a huge number that we can’t even wrap our heads around.”
The faint numerical inscriptions on the wall in Guatemala measure out time in approximate six-month increments, based on six lunar cycles, with small stylized pictures of Maya gods to indicate which deity was the patron of a specific slice of time, the researchers said Thursday in an online briefing. “It seems pretty clear that what we have here is a lunar calendar,” said David Stuart of the University of Texas at Austin, another author of the Science article.
The findings will also be published in the June issue of National Geographic, which funded some of the research. The numbers on the wall were likely written by a scribe or calendar priest, who would have been an important figure in the Maya court, where monarchs were keenly interested in astronomy and sought to harmonize sacred rituals with events in the sky.
The wall was used the way a modern scientist might use a whiteboard, to write down frequently consulted formulas instead of having to look them up in a book, he said. The fact that these calendar details were inscribed on the wall preserved them better than any book would have, since no books remain from the period when the inscriptions were made, probably around 800 AD, the researchers said. In addition to the inscribed numbers, there were pictures on other walls of the structure, including an image of a king in a feather headdress, seated on a throne, with a white-garbed person peeking out from behind him.
A painting of a scribe holding a stylus was on another wall. These paintings were the first Maya art to be found on the walls of a house, the researchers said. The structure, covered with vegetation, was detected in 2010 at the ruined Maya complex at Xultun in a rainforest area of Guatemala.
Xultun, once home to tens of thousands of people, stretches over 12 square miles (31 square km), and thousands of the remaining structures have not yet been explored.
“It’s weird that the Xultun finds exist at all,” Saturno said in a statement. “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.”
Copyright © 2015 euronewsMore about:
- 1Ceasefire holds in eastern Ukraine except for Mariupol region
- 2‘Blue’ dress causes internet confusion. Is it white and gold?
- 3Labeled as ‘Art/Craft’ a stolen Picasso worth millions is found in New York airport
- 4Mexico volcano eruption causes further flight cancellations
- 5Dutch town cowers in terror over Eagle owl attacks
- 1Kyiv’s suspension of gas flow to eastern Ukraine ‘smells of genocide’ says Putin
- 2Ukraine crisis: Ceasefire appears to take hold
- 3New, huge black hole challenges pre-existing theories
- 4Mexico volcano eruption causes further flight cancellations
- 5Amnesty report blasts UN, governments for not doing protective duty
- 1Dictating fashion? The strange and unique styles of world leaders
- 2Birdman, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne savour Oscar success
- 3New Gothic 20 euro note revealed
- 4Amnesty calls on permanent members of UN Security Council to lose their veto
- 5Exclusive: CIA and Mossad are behind Boko Haram and ISIL, says Sudan president
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2eurovibes - a selection of Europe’s best music talent
- 3Exclusive: CIA and Mossad are behind Boko Haram and ISIL, says Sudan president | euronews, world news
- 4European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
- 5English and Spanish among happiest languages | euronews, world news
- 6Greek debt: who will pay if Greece fails? | euronews, world news
- 7Watch: Ukraine MPs in fierce fist fight outside parliament | euronews, world news
- 8Dramatic dashcam video captures Taiwan plane crash | euronews, world news
- 9International news | euronews, latest international news
- 10Data ‘mocks’ claims migrants try for Europe ‘expecting’ sea rescue | euronews, world news
- 11Kosovo emptying out, hopes for independent future exhausted | euronews, world news
- 12International tv news | euronews: European and International tv news bulletin
- 13Live updates: follow the 2015 Oscars ceremony | euronews, world news
- 14New Greek government unveiled with radical economist named Finance Minister | euronews, world news
- 15euronews apps : iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Nokia S40, Nokia Asha, Smart TV and Google Glass
- 16Dark matter, dark energy: ESA and CERN set to unravel mysteries of the cosmos | euronews, space
- 17Barack Obama’s silly Buzzfeed video goes viral | euronews, world news
- 18Canada: Valentine’s Day mass shooting plot foiled say police | euronews, world news
- 19World news video | euronews the latest world news online | breaking world news video
- 20Implanted RFID chip controls office access for Stockholm workers | euronews, hi-tech
Wires > News
- 17:31 CET Flooding in Madagascar’s capital kills 14, uproots thousands
- 17:18 CET Spain arrests eight accused of joining pro-Russian rebels in…
- 17:18 CET Mexico captures most wanted drug kingpin, ‘La Tuta’
- 17:16 CET Venezuela military questions four U.S missionaries over aid, group…
- 17:01 CET Deaths shake Ukraine truce; Poroshenko wary of Russian threat
- 16:58 CET Islamic State under pressure as Kurds seize Syrian town
- 16:25 CET Jailing of Zambian ex-minister prompts calls for action on graft
- 16:23 CET Life sentence for Rwanda’s genocide-era justice minister upheld