By now everybody knows that the Mayan calendar runs out on December 21st, 2012, and that this means the ancient civilization had mystical knowledge the world would end on that date. Roland Emmerich even made a bad movie about the concept. Everybody also knows that this is complete horseshit, just like all of the doomsday prophecies of 1999 and last year. The world, I am sorry to tell you, is not ending. It probably should, but it isn't.
And now, just in case you were clinging to a stupid New Age belief that the Mayans knew something we don't know today, there is proof even the Mayans didn't believe the world would end in 2012. Newly discovered calendars show that the Mayans actually thought the world would keep on keeping on for a long, long, long time.
"The Mayan calendar is going to keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future," according to David Stuart, an archeologist from the University of Texas, who worked to decipher glyphs discovered two years ago. "Numbers we can't even wrap our heads around."
The new calendars are actually very old calendars, dating back a few hundred years before the Dresden Codex, the 11th or 12th century book from which came our previous understanding of the Mayan calendar. They're painted on the wall of a room that had been filled in and was only discovered because looters tried to ransack it; usually paint doesn't last long in the tropical climate of the Guatamalen rain forest (home of this find), but the room served up colorful murals and the calendar.
The calendar itself seemed to be on the wall as an aide for scholars who were likely sick of going through books to get the info they wanted. "It's kind of like having a whiteboard in your office where you're writing down formulas that you want to remember," Stuart said.
This calendar explodes previous versions of Mayan timekeeping; the 2012 predictions were based on previous calendars ending after 13 baktuns (periods of about 400 years) - this one has 17 baktuns, and notations for larger calculations of time beyond that.
Once again another superstitious belief if shown to come from a lack of information. The city of Xultan, where the murals were found, was discovered in 1915, but only the tiniest fraction has been explored. If this was waiting for us there, imagine what other intriguing secrets the ruins may harbor.
For more detailed information about how the calendar works, visit the link below.