David Stuart on Mayan calendar

August 7, 2011

Some people believe there's a Mayan prophecy that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012.  What does the Mayan calendar really say?  Mayanist David Stuart uncovers the real story.  Stuart is one of the world's authorities on ancient Mayan culture.  He debunks this prophecy but also explains the remarkable system of calendars and timekeeping among the ancient Maya.

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Comments

DId anyone else notice that Mr. Stuart's math is a little off. 13 X 20 is 260, not 360, so his entire premise is undermined. Hopefully, this isn't a major assertion of his book.

Yes, 13 x 20 is certainly 260, and much of the Order of Days book is devoted to the importance of that number. My mention of 360 in the interview was a simple slip-up, perhaps helped along because the Maya also had a period of 360 days, as it happens. Thanks for pointing out the confusion.

At first place, I would like to congratulate the site, the radio who broadcasted this little conversation, and also welcome David Stuart.
Secondly, I'd like to say a few things about this "2012 phenomenon". Hundreds and hundreds of books have been written over the last years, that spoken about "Mayan Prophecies" (which does not exist). Many were and are, those who profit from these inventions. But who lost are always the Maya and other Mesoamerican cultures (like the Mexica). In some countries there are serious and dedicated people like David Stuart and Mark Van Stone, who fights those ideas. But in others countries there are nobody who fights, and explain why those ideas are wrong. This is a big problem because in many countries, you have a lot of books about 2012 and very few about the Maya. For example in Portugal (where I live), you don´t learn in school who were and are the Maya. But if you go to the Books shops you will see a huge number of books about 2012, most of them translated to Portuguese. Can you imaging the result of this? Well, I can.
For several years, many have dedicated their lives to the study and safeguarding of Maya Culture. Through this times we overcome barriers, gave the Maya the right place in World History, we also were able to decipher the Maya hieroglyphic writing system, we began to destroy the preconceived ideas about the ancient Maya, educating more people and encouraging them to come in Mesoamerican studies, and after all this, we are forced to face all the "2012 phenomenon". Maybe the strong and destructive enemy that can bring irreversible consequences, shaping the ideas of some.
i want to say that the last book of David Stuart are not a book about 2012 (Thank you God and David for that), but a brilliant book about a lot of issues of Maya culture. There are not only a book for amateurs, but also a book for scholars. Who thinks that the world going to see is end on 21 December of 2012 or in 13.0.0.0.0 4 Ahau 3 K`ank`in, must have to read the book (and i can guarantee to you, that you will have a great surprise).
We historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, epigraphists and scientists in general, don´t make fortunes with our books. If we wrote a book is because we want to share something important with the rest of the world. In many cases we don´t make money, but we loose money and time (much of the times our family and friends are the biggest losers). So i recommend you instead of buy a book of 2012 (and try to find what the Maya say about that), go to a public library and learn who were and are the Maya.