text confirms December 2012 end for calendar
Guatemala City, June 29 : A 1,300-year-old Mayan
text discovered in Guatemala provides the second
known reference to December 21, 2012, touted
as the world's end date. However, archaeologists
believe it has more to do with political history
than the prophecy.
"This text talks about ancient political
history rather than prophecy," says Marcello
A. Canuto, director of Tulane's Middle American
Research Institute (MARI) and co-director of
the excavations at La Corona in Guatemala.
The discovery, one of the most significant hieroglyphic
finds in decades, was announced June 28 at the
National Palace in Guatemala, according to a
Canuto and Tomas Barrientos of the Universidad
del Valle de Guatemala, directing La Corona excavations,
a site previously ravaged by looters, found the
longest text ever discovered in Guatemala.
"Last year, we realised that looters of
a particular building had discarded some carved
stones because they were too eroded to sell on
the antiquities black market," said Barrientos.
"So, we knew they found something important,
but we also thought they might have missed something," added
Carved on staircase steps, it records 200 years
of La Corona history, states David Stuart, director
of the Mesoamerica Center at the University of
Texas (Austin), US, who was part of a 1997 expedition
that first explored the site.
While deciphering these new finds in May,
Stuart recognised the 2012 reference on a
stairway block bearing 56 delicately carved
It 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, only a few months after his defeat
by long-standing rival Tikal in AD 695.
Thought by scholars to have been killed
in this battle, this ruler was visiting allies
and allaying their fears after his defeat.
"This was a time of great political
turmoil in the Maya region and this king
felt compelled to allude to a larger cycle
of time that happens to end in 2012," says
So, rather than prophesy, the 2012 reference
places this king's troubled reign and accomplishments
into a larger cosmological framework.
"In times of crisis, the ancient Maya
used their calendar to promote continuity
and stability rather than predict apocalypse," says