With all the hype about the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012, it surprised me to learn there was only one known written reference by the ancient Maya to 4 Ahau 3 Kankin (188.8.131.52.0). Until now.
According to Tulane University’s Middle American Research Institute (M.A.R.I.), a second reference to the end of the Long Count calendar cycle was found this spring at La Corona, Guatemala. The monument, Hieroglyphic Stairway 2 (HS 2) of La Corona,cites 184.108.40.206.0. on block 5.
The first reference to the end of the 13th bak’tun was found on Tortuguero Monument 6.
The La Corona project’s renowned epigrapher, Dr. David Stuart, reported June 30 on his Maya Decipherment weblog: “While perhaps disappointing to some, the newly found inscription has no prophetic message regarding what will happen in 2012. So why only mention the date but say nothing directly about its meaning or significance? Because it’s a future station of a big calendar cycle and so it was seen as worthy of mention in its own right. Ancient Maya scribes liked to record the comings and goings of various periods in their calendar, including future ones, because they were intimately tied to their political and religious life. In two texts they tied this future bak’tun ending to their contemporary world, mostly because of interesting numerological patterns that seemed cosmically relevant.”
Was the end date for the bak’tun significant to the ancient Maya? Absolutely.
Did it indicate the end of the world? They failed to mention it in the only two written references we’ve found. I find that reassuring, don’t you?