On December 21, 2012, the Maya Long Count Calendar will reach an end. What happens next? The 2012 Doomsday? Or will it be just another day?
The 2012 Doomsday Phenomenon
We’ve talked about the 2012 Doomsday phenomenon before, but here’s a quick background. According to the Maya codice Popol Vuh, we’re currently living in the fourth world of creation. After the first three worlds failed, the Maya gods created the current version of mankind.
Now, the Classic Maya civilization used something called the Long Count Calendar. As best as we can determine, each date was described using five separate numbers. The largest number they used was a b’ak’tun, which was equivalent to 144,000 days, or roughly 394 years.
Each of the previous Maya worlds supposedly lasted 13 b’ak’tuns, or a grand total of 5,126 years. Some scholars have attempted to match up the Gregorian calendar with the Long Count calendar. They think the current world of creation started on August 11, 3114 BC. The end of the 13th b’ak’tun (and thus, the end of the fourth world of creation) is supposed to take place on December 21, 2012. Some consider this to be the 2012 Doomsday.
Several months ago, archaeologists Marcello A. Canuto and Tomás Barrientos were excavating a building at “Site Q” in Guatemala which had been seemingly stripped by treasure hunters. They unearthed 22 carved stones. And when added with other stones recovered from the black market, they were able to piece together 264 hieroglyphs.
Dr. David Stuart deciphered the text and found it covered about 200 years of history at “Site Q.” One portion of text commemorated a visit in 696 AD by a Maya king named Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’.
The ancient text refers to Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ as the “13 K’atun lord.” But what does this mean? Well, each b’ak’tun is made up of 20 k’atun, which are equivalent to about 20 years apiece.
In 692 AD, the 13th k’atun cycle of the 9th b’ak’tun came to an end. Based on the text, it appears Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ was king at that time. It was a fairly significant date. But not nearly as significant as, say, the end of the 13th b’ak’tun cycle.
Canuto and Barrientos theorize that Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ decided to connect these two dates via the number “13.” If true, it seems safe to assume he viewed the end of the 13th b’ak’tun cycle (and thus, the so-called 2012 Doomsday) as something to be revered, not feared.
“This new evidence suggests that the 13 Bak’tun date was an important calendrical event that would have been celebrated by the ancient Maya; however, they make no apocalyptic prophecies whatsoever regarding the date.” ~ Marcello A. Canuto, Maya archaeologists unearth new 2012 monument
Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis
Truthfully, this new evidence appears pretty flimsy. We can’t know for sure why Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ called himself the “13 K’atun lord.” Maybe all rulers referred to themselves in this fashion. So, while the text itself is a tremendous archaeological find, we’re not sure it tells us much about how the Classic Mayas would’ve felt about the 2012 Doomsday theories. The Mayas were fascinated by time. According to the available evidence, they seem to have viewed it as a continuous cycle of worlds. However, there’s no evidence they saw December 21, 2012 as the ultimate doomsday. In fact, researchers have discovered references to post-2012 dates on several ancient Maya ruins.
“Recently, archaeologists discovered some very old Mayan astronomical tables at the Xultun ruins (well, they actually stumbled on them while chasing off treasure hunters). They discovered four long numbers on a wall which appear to reference a date 7,000 years past 813 AD.” ~ David Meyer, The Mayan Doomsday Prophecy?
All in all, the Classic Maya civilization was highly advanced for its time. But there’s no reason to believe they were capable of predicting anything. After all, if they were such great prophets, then how come they never saw the ending of their own civilization?
“And maybe the most important question to ask was voiced to me by Bill Saturno, discoverer of the San Bartolo murals. If the Maya were such skilled prophets, how could they have missed the Conquest? “Didn’t see that one coming, did they?” The single most devastating disaster to befall the peoples of the Americas of all time, and not a word about it in the entire corpus of Mayan prophetic literature.” ~ Mark Van Stone, 2012 FAQ