Discovery of oldest known Mayan calendar
Nestled in the deep trenches of the Guatemalan rain forest, at the largest-known Classic Mayan site, Xultún, scientistshave uncovered the remnants of what appears to be the earliest known Mayan calendar and murals.
Contrary to popular myth, Mayan experts have known for a long time that this calendar is not acountdown to the end of the world on December 2012, the study researchers said in a press conference to reporters.
The Mayan used a series of cycles to track time in which there were 13 baktuns eachrepresenting a 400-year chunk.
Researchers of the study say rumors surrounding a projected apocalypse on December 21, 2012, is a misconception. It is just the benchmark when a cycle of 13 baktuns will becomplete and a new cycle begins.
“There was a lot more to the Mayan calendar than just 13 baktuns," said archaeologist David Stuart of the University of Texas, who worked to decipher the hieroglyphicsfound on the walls of a house, dating back to the early part of the 9th century (813 A.D.-814 A.D.).
"The Mayan calendar is going to keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into thefuture," added Stuart.
Archeologists working in the region stumbled upon these ruins back in 2010, while exploring the site of Xultún. They say the artifacts were well preserved in a never before seenhouse-like structure, which appears to be a workspace for Mayan scribes.
“It was actually my student, Max Chamberlain, who discovered to the Mayan house, while poking around a looters’ trench,” saidWilliam Saturno, lead author and archeologist at Boston University.
Due to the fluctuations in the wet and dry climates of the tropical regions in the rain forest, scientists did not expect theseartworks to preserve well. At first glance, Saturno and his research team did not think their findings would amount to anything.
“Initially, when we went to verify this as a Mayan painting, all we...