Tag Archives | Mayans
The ancient Maya have recently been the subject of much media attention due to the impending completion of the current 5,125-year cycle of their infamous Long Count Calendar on December 21, 2012.
One of the reasons for the fascination surrounding the supposed future predictions of the Maya was that their civilization, once incredibly sophisticated, rapidly descended into bloody wars between neighboring city-states, depleted resources and eventually complete collapse. Anyone who has visited Mayan sites in Mexico and Central America knows that most of the cities are still engulfed in a fast-growing jungle; scientists are now speculating that the primary reason for the collapse of Mayan civilization may be climate change. Sindya N. Banoo reports for New York Times:
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The ancient Maya civilization may have risen — and then fallen — in response to climate change, scientists report after creating precise climate records going back 2,000 years.
The researchers, whose findings appear in the current issue of the journal Science, reconstructed rainfall patterns using cross-sections of stalagmites from a cave near the ancient city of Uxbenka, in what is now southern Belize.
A scarlet temple emblazoned with the likeness of a blood-drinking god may sound like something from an H. Rider Haggard or Robert E. Howard story, but that’s what scientists seem to have stumbled upon in the jungles of Guatemala:
The noonday sun is depicted as an ancient being with crossed eyes who drank blood, and a final series of masks resemble the local jaguars, which awake from their jungle slumbers at dusk.
In Maya culture the sun is closely associated with new beginnings and the sun god with kingship, Houston explained. So the presence of solar visages on a temple next to a royal tomb may signify that the person buried inside was the founder of a dynasty—El Zotz’s first king.
Read more – and watch an amazing video – at National Geographic.
Recently the Mayan calendar system was found to extend far beyond 2012, perhaps giving some respite to those who feared that the world would end by next Christmas. Now a new discovery once again highlights December 21, 2012, but as the end of a political cycle, rather than doomsday. I say bring it on. Phys.Org reports:
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Archaeologists working at the site of La Corona in Guatemala have discovered a 1,300 year-old year-old Maya text that provides only the second known reference to the so-called “end date” for the Maya calendar on December 21, 2012. The discovery, one of the most significant hieroglyphic find in decades, was announced today at the National Palace in Guatemala.
“This text talks about ancient political history rather than prophecy,” says Marcello A. Canuto, Director of Tulane’s Middle American Research Institute and co-director of the excavations at the Maya ruins of La Corona. “This new evidence suggests that the 13 Bak’tun date was an important calendrical event that would have been celebrated by the ancient Maya.”
The hieroglyphs commemorated a royal visit to La Corona in AD 696 by the most powerful Maya ruler of that time, Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ of Calakmul.
World to end on December 21st, 5012? Brian Vastag writes in the Washington Post:
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The ancient Mayans were masters of time, keepers of good calendars. And now we have one of their timekeepers’ workrooms to prove it.
In a striking find, archaeologists in Guatemala report the discovery of a small building whose walls display calendars that destroy any notion that the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012. This calendar spans some 7,000 years — heading much farther into the future than the supposed doomsday date.
The newly found calendars, which track the motion of the moon, Venus and Mars, provide an unprecedented glimpse into how these storied sky-gazers — who dominated Central America for nearly 1,000 years — kept such accurate track of months, seasons and years.
“What they’re trying to do is understand the large cycles of cosmic time,” said William Saturno, the Boston University archaeologist who led the expedition.
This breezy seemingly fluffy travel article in the Guardian just days before NYE that somehow got overlooked as the apocalyptic hysteria surrounding the Mayan Long Count date of 21 December 2012 reached a pots-New Year crescendo (for now).
In it, author Kevin Rushby reminds us that unlike the Atlanteans, the ‘noble savage’ and other imaginary creatures Mayan culture still exists and continuous with its more grandiose past.
When Rushby asks a local Guatemalan shaman about the end-of-the-world prophecy, he says, “It is the end of a 5,126-year cycle, that’s true, but there is no mention of the end of the world. People seem to have got that from the Dresden Codex (a pre-Columbian volume of Mayan writings now in the State Library of Dresden). But in that record there is no mention of 2012.” According to Rushby, “Some millenarian-minded person had put these two separate records together and made a doomsday scenario.”
Mayans, Gold, “666 B.C.” and 2012 just around the corner…Why do I have a bad feeling about this? Fox News Latino reports:
Led by Joachim Rittsteig, an expert in Mayan writing, a group of scientists and journalists left Germany Tuesday, on a mission to Guatemala in search of a lost Maya treasure allegedly submerged under Lake Izabal.
According to the German newspaper Bild, which sponsored the expedition, the expedition includes two reporters from the publication, a photographer, a television camera, and a professional diver who will submerge into Lake Izabal in an attempt to find eight tons of gold said to have been lost there.
The expedition is led by Joachim Rittsteig, an expert in Mayan writing, who claims to have cracked the famous Dresden Codex and discovered specific information in one of its chapters that leads to a treasure in Lake Izabal.
“The Dresden Codex leads to a giant treasure of eight tons of pure gold,” said Rittsteig, who has spent more than 40 years studying the document, to Bild…