Mayan Apocalypse 2012: Fact and Fiction

World: 'The reports of my end are greatly exaggerated'

 

November 16, 2012

Mayan CalendarJoin Maya archaeologists Brigitte Kovacevich and Michael Callaghan of SMU’s Anthropology Department for a panel discussion on the significance of the Mayan calendar date of December 21, 2012. 

Kovacevich and Callaghan will introduce the audience to the ancient Maya of Mesoamerica, explain the significance of this date to the Maya themselves, and what (if anything) this date means for the future of the world. 

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be at 4 p.m. Monday, November 26, in McCord Auditorium on the third floor of Dallas Hall. 

Don’t feel compelled to mark every item off the bucket list just yet.  Reports that the Maya calendar calls for the end of the world December 21, 2012 are inaccurate, Kovacevich says.

  • The Maya used a number of different calendars, which scholars interpret in different ways. One of the calendars turns over, much like an odometer, on December 21 or 23, 2012, signifying a day of celebration for the Maya, not the end of the world.
  • Only one monument out of all Maya sites refers to 2012, using the date as a rhetorical device, not a prediction. Other monuments predict events still 4,000 or 7,000 years in the future.
  • The two best known Maya texts, the Dresden Codex and Chilam Balam, do not mention 2012. These books date to the 15th and 16th centuries and are believed to be copies of earlier works written in glyphs by Maya priests.

So why the fuss? The prophecies about 2012 are a collection of myths and legends, independent of academic scholarship, spread by television, commercial publications and digital computer networks, Kovacevich says. Not only are they inaccurate, they exploit, misrepresent and romanticize the Maya culture, she says.

For more information, contact Pamela Hoga at phogan@smu.edu

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