They’ve already discovered the earliest human use of fire. Now, a Boston University-led excavation has uncovered the oldest Mayan calendar. And with their discovery comes one momentous piece of news: The world isn’t ending in 2012! Yes, let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief and stop stocking up on canned peas.
The lunar calendar was one of several texts found on the wall of a room in, what the scientists described as, “a residential area of the massive complex of ruins called Xultun in northeast Guatemala,” according to the Boston Globe. Comprised of intricately-painted symbols and columns of numbers, the Globe writes, “the calendar is four to five centuries older than previous Mayan calendars, and the earliest found on a wall rather than in books.”
Ever since “2012” hit the silver screen, people have thought the world would come crumbling down around them this year. Although popular culture has embraced the Mayan prediction the world would end in “13 baktuns,” or about 5,000 years, which translates to 2012, this discovery suggests otherwise. This calendar extends to 17 baktuns, about 7,000 years.
“We keep looking for endings,” said co-author Anthony Aveni, professor of astronomy and anthropology at Colgate University, to ABC News. “The Maya were looking for a guarantee that nothing would change. It’s an entirely different mindset.”
Aveni claims the only thing predicted to end in 2012 is one of the calendar’s cycles, later comparing the idea to a car odometer. “The car gets a step closer to the junkyard as the numbers turn over; the Maya just start over,” he said.
William Saturno, an assistant professor at Boston University, led the expedition, yet it was an undergraduate student, Maxwell Chamberlain, who first caught a glimpse of the paintings. (Looks like someone will be receiving an A+ this semester.)