Earlier this year, a Boston University-led excavation uncovered the oldest Mayan calendar—a Mayan calendar full of life-altering, jump-with-joy news. Professor William Saturno assured us all through his discoveries the world is not about to end on December 21, 2012; that’s a myth. Yet, still, months later, people are panicking, now preparing for an Apocalypse that “will completely alter ‘life as we know it today.’”
Saturno stands by his findings, however, which he led alongside Boston University undergraduate student Maxwell Chamberlain. “The Mayan calendar does not end,” Saturno says. “It’s a cycle of time.”
The calendar last reset in August 3114 B.C. As Saturno notes, “We know the world didn’t end then.” Instead, the calendar started a new cycle—one that lasts every 1,872,000 days. For those who then say, “The world is going to end because it’s December 21st,” Saturno’s response is, “It didn’t end last December 21st.”
Although popular culture has embraced the prediction the world would end in “13 baktuns,” or about 5,000 years—which translates to 2012—the calendar Saturno helped uncover extended to 17 baktuns, about 7,000 years.
“The Maya stopped recording dates in this calendar in the 10th century,” Saturno says, claiming the calendar people are in fear of isn’t even one still in use by modern Maya. “I don’t know why people are so worried that the Maya knew when the world would end even though they never made a prediction the world was ending,” he admits.
Saturno blames the concern on pop culture. Ever since “2012” hit the silver screen, several have deemed “doomsday” inevitable. Local Facebook page “Doomsday Preppers Massachusetts” boasts a logo that reads, “The End is Near.” The group hosts discussions about survival tactics, or what they have stored and packed. In a prior interview, however, a member of the group did admit she wasn’t preparing for the “end of the world,” but rather wants to be ready when a natural disaster hits.
Saturno assures the Mayas didn’t have a doomsday, though. “There isn’t even a myth of the end of the world in Maya mythology,” he says. “The Maya talked about multiple creations, but they never talked about the current one ending.”
Although dozens of Massachusetts residents are prepared to repopulate next Friday’s crumbled civilization, Saturno suggests the Maya have a slightly inaccurate concept of time in the sense that their clock goes back octillions of years, while we date our universe only in billions. He reiterates, “This whole idea of the end of time only exists in modern pop culture.” Saturno claims modern Maya have actually walked up to him and said, “Our calendar is ending?” completely unaware of the myth.
Saturno is sure to repeat: “The world won’t go away on the 22nd.”
If, for whatever reason, you’re still not convinced, though, maybe you’ll at least have a laugh at these memes and cartoons.