So-called Mayan prediction lacks credibility, experts say
BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
TULUM, Mexico — Standing at the base of a centuries-old pyramid expertly constructed of limestone, it’s easy to see why more than a million visitors each year seek out a quiet walk among Mexico’s many Mayan ruins.
Whether in the jungle, like the ruins at Chacchoben, or along the cliffs of the Caribbean Sea coast, like Tulum, these complex and long-lasting structures command respect.
So, on a recent visit to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, I was sure to spend time among the last of the cities inhabited and built by Mayans. And of course, while taking in the beauty and serenity of my surroundings, I couldn’t help but think that it’ll be a shame when these magnificent structures — as well as the rest of the world, for that matter — come to an end this year.
According to popular culture, when the Mayan calendar concludes on Dec. 21, 2012, so does the world. It’s a doomsday theory that has gained such momentum that a poll commissioned by Reuters conducted earlier this year showed that 15 percent of the worldwide population believes that the world will end during their lifetime and one in 10 people think that it could be this week.
But according to experts in Latin American culture who have studied the Mayan population and their calendar, this belief is just plain wrong.
“The Maya never predicted the end of the world,” said Joyce Marcus, an archeologist and professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan. “Dec. 21, 2012, merely marks the end of the 13th cycle, which the Maya called Baktun 13, and the beginning of the next cycle, which the Maya called Baktun 1.”
A Baktun is about 400 years, she added.
Awe come on, if you can't believe an extinct civilization that practiced human sacrifice who can you believe?