a page from the Dresden Codex

Maybe you can rest easier, or maybe you can scrap that idea of a new age starting this December 21st when the solstice comes.

According to an article from The New York Times, “Painted Maya Walls Reveal Calendar Writing”, the end (of the Mayan calendar) is not due this year.

Archaeologists excavating a house buried in the ruins of a large Maya city in Guatemala discovered what might have been a kind of studio for royal scribes.

The walls are decorated with a mural, a scribes’ whiteboard for ideas, images of human figures, glyphs and columns of numbers in the form of their bars and dots (Maya used bars for the number 5 and dots for 1).

So much of what they observed in the motions of the Sun, Moon and planets entered into the beliefs of these people as recorded by the scribes and calendar priests.

Now, about that calendar…

What is interesting is that this new discovery seems to have calendars that were several centuries earlier than the Dresden Codex. That bark-paper book is from the period just before the Spanish arrived in the early 16th century.

The archaeologists haven’t found anything in these newly-discovered calendars to foretell either the world coming to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, or the dawning of a new age.

Others have said that all the attention to the Mayan calendar is based on a misinterpretation of the Maya Long Count calendar.

As for my own opinion, I wouldn’t believe an earlier calendar and would stick with the later, possibly revised, version.

I am very comfortable with no-world’s end prediction. And I am all for believing that the Maya were seeing, or hoping,  for this particular end of a cycle to be the beginning of a new and better one.

The calendrical cycles of the Maya included a 260-day ceremonial calendar, 365-day solar calendar, 584-day cycle of Venus and the 780-day cycle of Mars and the calendars seem to have 5000 year cycles.

Xultún is a 12-square-mile site with temples and monuments constructed in the first centuries B.C. Archaeologists suspect that thousands of other houses remain uncounted. These discoveries were made by a team from Boston University and were reported in the journal Science this week. The June issue of National Geographic magazine will have more about it.