A new book called Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World highlights that the “end of the world” 2012 date may be incorrect. It might be out by as much as 100 years.
The issue centres around the translation of the “Long Count” calendar to our Gregorian system using a system called the GMT constant. In this case GMT is a timezone but the initials of three early Mayanist researchers who started the original work on translating the calendar.
Some of the most important bits of “evidence” that the GMT constant used were dates recovered from colonial documents written in Mayan but in the latin alphabet. Floyd Lounsbury, an American anthropologist, later supported some of the GMT constant translations. He used a set of data called the “Dresden Codex Venus Table” for this, another Mayan calendar that charts the dates in relation to the planet Venus.
There is now doubt around the reliability of the Dresden Codex Venus Tables. As a result researchers may worry about the accuracy of the GMT translations.
Aldana told press;
“One of the principal complications is that there are really so few scholars who know the astronomy, the epigraphy, and the archeology,”
“Because there are so few people who are working on that, you get people who don’t see the full scope of the problem. And because they don’t see the full scope, they buy things they otherwise wouldn’t.”
He goes on to say;
If the Venus Table cannot be used to prove the GMT as Lounsbury suggests, its acceptance depends on the reliability of the corroborating data. The rest of the article historically unpacks each element of corroborating data to show that they are even less stable and/or persuasive than the Venus data. And the overall argument behind the GMT constant falls like a stack of cards.
As it turns out, Aldana is not the first to question the 2012 date. Russian scholars recently rejected the date but did predict an increase in solar activity. The surge in solar activity in 2012 may be so strong that satellites might be harmed and astronauts might be at risk, worried the Russians.
In Pure Spirit
Are you worried about the possibility of the end of the world in 2012?
If you accept that the Mayan calendar runs out in 2012 – does that really mean the Mayans thought the world would end then? Is it just a fluke that we’re expecting a significant solar cycle on the very same year?