1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Often Misunderstood Today, Mayans Did Not Predict 2012 Apocalypse

— by Anne Bromley 

The rock band REM may have sung, "It's the end of the world as we know it," but not according to the Mayans, despite some popular misconceptions about their ancient calendar.

Students in a University of Virginia summer course on "The Maya Today: Fiction and Reality" learned why the notion that pre-Columbian Mayans predicted the end of the world would happen Dec. 12, 2012, is all wrong. They learned not only the facts behind this misinterpretation, but also the basics of the complicated calendar system the Maya developed.

After two sessions, the teacher, Lydia Rodriguez, a Ph.D. candidate in linguistic anthropology in U.Va.'s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, had the class interpreting Mayan hieroglyphics to read dates. The students learned the days, months and years, similar to the Gregorian calendar Westerners use to express, for example, June 21, 2012.....(Read more)


Thursday, 21 June 2012