The Walters Art Museum unveiled a very timely exhibit yesterday, Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection Gift. Among the 129 Precolumbian pieces on display until May 20 is at least one Mayan calendar stela, a carved stone column, similar to the ones that famously stop counting on December 21, 2012.
To explain the meaning of the Mayan stelae (among other topics, no doubt), Colgate University Professor Tony Aveni will take part in a panel discussion at the museum on March 17.
Let me spoil it for you: Aveni’s main point is that just because one especially long cycle in the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, it doesn’t mean the world will end then. You may have a calendar on your wall that ends on December 31, but that doesn’t mean anything grim is slated for January 1. There is no prophesy that ties into the calendar’s end, and so there is no reason to think that Mayans believed anything terribly unusual was going to occur on December 22.
Now, before reading the article in The Sun, I didn’t know any of that stuff about the Mayans’ calendar system, but I already felt strongly that the world would continue after December 21. I don’t know, call it a hunch. I’ve always been very intuitive about these things.
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