Apocalypse Approaching? Experts Meet About Mayan Prophecy
The estimated day of the Apocalypse, Dec. 21, is approaching and experts on the Mayan calendar have been gathered in southern Mexico looking at the implications of the calender racing to convince people that the Mayas didn't actually predict the apocalypse to happen this year.
Some experts do have the opinion that the Mayas may indeed have made prophecies, but the general meaning is they are not about the end of the world.
Archaeologists, anthropologists and other experts met Friday in the southern Mexico city of Merida to discuss the implications of the Mayan Long Count calendar, which is made up of 394-year periods called baktuns.
Experts estimate the system starts counting at 3114 B.C., and will have run through 13 baktuns, or 5,125 years, around Dec. 21. Experts say 13 was a significant number for the Mayans, and the end of that cycle would be a milestone – but not an end.
Fears that the calendar does point to the end have circulated in recent years. People in that camp believe the Maya may have been privy to impending astronomical disasters that would coincide with 2012, ranging from explosive storms on the surface of the sun that could knock out power grids to a galactic alignment that could trigger a reversal in Earth's magnetic field.
Mexican government archaeologist Alfredo Barrera said Friday that the Mayas did prophesize, but perhaps about more humdrum events like droughts or disease outbreaks.
"The Mayas did make prophecies, but not in a fatalistic sense, but rather about events that, in their cyclical conception of history, could be repeated in the future," said Barrera, of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Experts stressed that the ancient Mayas, whose "classic" culture of writing, astronomy and temple complexes flourished from A.D. 300 to 900, were extremely interested in future events, far beyond Dec. 21.