An even earlier version of the Mayan calander has been found, and guess what? The world is not going to end this year.
So what does this mean? In a nutshell, this find means the following:
- Contrary to popular myth, the Mayan calendar does not foretell doom in 2012.
- The new discovery of elaborate paintings and etchings have been uncovered in the ancient Maya city of Xultun, Guatemala.
- This monumental finding supports the fact that the Maya used cyclical calendars.
The oldest-known version of the ancient Maya calendar has been discovered adorning a lavishly painted wall in the ruins of a city deep in the Guatemalan rainforest.
The hieroglyphs, painted in black and red, along with a colorful mural of a king and his mysterious attendants, seem to have been a sort of handy reference chart for court scribes in A.D. 800 — the astronomers and mathematicians of their day.
It’s Not the End of the World
It’s almost as if an ancient scribe got sick of flipping through a document to find his timekeeping chart and decided to put it on the wall for at-a-glance reference, Stuart said.
“It’s kind of like having a whiteboard in your office where you’re writing down formulas that you want to remember,” he said.
“The Mayan calendar is going to keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future,” said archaeologist David Stuart of the University of Texas, who worked to decipher the glyphs. “Numbers we can’t even wrap our heads around.”
The Maya recorded time in a series of cycles, including 400-year chunks called baktuns. It’s these baktuns that have led to rumors of an end-of-the-world catastrophe on Dec. 21, 2012 — on that date, a cycle of 13 baktuns will be complete. But the idea that this means the end of the world is a misconception, Stuart said. In fact, Maya experts have known for a long time that the calendar doesn’t end after the 13th baktun. It simply begins a new cycle. And the calendar encompasses much larger units than the baktun.
“There were 24 units of time they actually could have incorporated into their calendar,” Stuart said. “Here, we’re only seeing five units and they’re still really big.”
In one column, the ancient scribe even worked out a cycle of time recording 17 baktuns, the researchers found. In another spot, someone etched a “ring number” into the wall. These notations were used to record time in a previous cycle, thousands of years into the past. The calendar also appears to note the cycles of Mars and Venus, the researchers said. Symbols of gods head the top of each lunar cycle, suggesting that each cycle had its own patron deity.
Some appear to be the 365-day solar calendar, the 584-day cycle of the planet Venus and the 780-day cycle of Mars, said archaeologist William Saturno of Boston University, who led the exploration and excavation.
According to Saturno, the writing looks like someone’s attempt to sort out a very long math problem, as if on a blackboard.
“For the first time we get to see what may be actual records kept by a scribe, whose job was to be official record keeper of a Maya community,” Saturno said.
“The ancient Maya predicted the world would continue, that 7 000 years from now, things would be exactly like this,” he added.
“We keep looking for endings. The Maya were looking for a guarantee that nothing would change. It’s an entirely different mindset.”
Socialyz.com is a Cape Town based blog. Socialyz.com is part of the Sokolic Group of companies. If you would like to feature on these pages please email email@example.com