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#453816 - 12/19/12 02:24 PM Seven Reasons Why the World Won’t End This Week
Marty Online   happy

One of the world’s leading authorities on the ancient Maya gave his listeners seven compelling reasons why the apocalypse theories surrounding the 2012 Winter Solstice are unfounded during a lecture atChaa Creek’s Maya Winter Solstice Celebrations held in Belize.

Dr Jaime Awe, one of the expert guest speakers at Chaa Creek’s weeklong Maya culture exposition, scoffed at theories that the world would end on December 21, 2012, and, as a noted author and anthropologist, said he could back his assertions with scientific facts.

At one point in the lecture, given December 17 at the Lodge at Chaa Creek, Dr Awe gave a slide presentation listing seven reasons why the so called Maya doomsday prophesies should not be taken seriously. The seven points he highlighted were:

  • Lack of data – there is simply not enough data to support the conjectures. The Spanish conquistadors had embarked upon a very successful campaign to destroy Maya libraries and repositories of information, leaving very little real information about their future views.
  • Contradictory – Dr Awe pointed out significant contradictions in apocalypse scenarios.
  • Manipulated – Dr Awe gave examples of how what little data that does exist was often manipulated to support various conjectures.
  • Scholars disagree – In his presentation, Dr Awe noted that virtually all respected Mayanists, archaeologists, universities and scholars disagreed with the doomsday conjectures.
  • The Maya never mention destruction on December 21 2012 – According to Dr Awe and colleagues such as noted author Dr Mark Stone, while the ancient Maya did record the date of December 21 2012 on their highly accurate calendars, they never linked that date with destruction.
  • The Maya calendar actually continues to 4772AD – Far from ending on December 21, 2012, which marks the completion of the 13th Bak’tun, or cycle of time, examples of Maya dates up to 4772AD exist.
  • The 2012 Winter Solstice was not significant – Dr Awe said one would expect that an event of such importance as the end of the world would be given significance by the ancient Maya and while recorded, the solstice was never given any real significance.

Describing the ancient Maya as the “world’s foremost philosophers of time” and the most astute astronomers any ancient civilisation had produced, Dr Awe insisted that any references to the Maya prophesising the end of the world on December 21, 2012 “are simply not true.”

Lucy Fleming, owner and GM of the Lodge at Chaa Creek which is hosting the educational week in the lead up to their Maya 2012 Winter Solstice celebrations, said that Dr Awe’s presentation was one more example of how the actual facts about ancient Maya civilisation were far more fascinating than the doomsday conjectures making the rounds on the internet and other media.

“That’s why over the years we’ve always sponsored legitimate research and university study here at Chaa Creek. I personally have always felt that history has dealt the Maya a raw deal. If we looked at them with the same respect as the ancient Greek, Roman, Phoenician and other civilisations it would quickly become apparent just how highly advanced this civilisation was, and how much there is to learn from them.

“It’s been wonderful to see what an eye-opener this week has been for our guests and how engaged they’ve become in learning about Maya arts and crafts, medicine, astronomy, architecture, farming, cooking and other aspects of their lives.

“The December 21 2012 Winter Solstice celebration itself is going to be incredible, and we’re looking forward to seeing the momentum of interest in the Maya continue well into next year. For now, we’re inviting people to check sources such as the Belize Travel Blog for more information about this amazing civilisation. I think people will wonder why we all don’t know more about these fascinating people and their scientific achievements,” she said.

Chaa Creek Blog


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#453817 - 12/19/12 02:26 PM Re: Seven Reasons Why the World Won’t End This Week [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy


Tortuguero Monument Six, supposedly predicting the "end of the world" in December, actually tells the life and battles of a ruler.

Maya Calendars Actually Predict That Life Goes On

Doomsday? No way. Ancient Maya said we’ll be around another 7,000 years or so.

This December, not everyone is concerned with making plans for the New Year—especially not the people who think doomsday will get here first. Instead of planning parties, they're stockpiling food, refining escape routes, and honing survival skills ahead of the alleged date on which the Maya calendar "ends"—December 21, 2012.

So should we all be preparing for imminent apocalypse? According to the scholars, no.

The ancient Maya are usually cited as the predictors of the world coming to an end this month: One of their "great cycles" supposedly ends now. But the Maya were brilliant mathematicians and fantastic record keepers. They didn't have just one calendar. They developed many different kinds, including a cyclical solar calendar and a sacred almanac. They also measured time with something known as the Long Count, which were great cycles of 5,000 years.

Somewhere along the way a rumor spread about the current great cycle, indicating it ends on December 21, 2012. This sparked the belief among some that the last of our days are upon us.

Rebirth

It's not the first time that the possibility of apocalypse has sparked the human imagination. Doomsday prophecies have a rich history, and believers tend to overlook the scientific evidence that disproves them. In this case, the doomsdayers fail to take into account the intricacies of Maya timekeeping.

"There's only one [Maya] monument that even has the 2012 date on it," says Maya scholar Ricardo Agurcia, adding that apocalypse anticipators are ignoring that according to the Maya, when one great cycle ends, another begins. "It's about rebirth, not death." (Read about the rise and fall of the Maya in National Geographic magazine.)

Indeed, the Maya predicted the world would most certainly not end in 2012. Earlier this year, archaeologist and National Geographic Grantee William Saturno discovered a series of numbers painted on the walls at a Maya complex in Guatemala. The calculations included dates that go far into the future. "The ancient Maya predicted the world would continue, that 7,000 years from now, things would be exactly like this," he said in a press release. (See ultra-high-resolution, zoomable pictures from inside a newfound Maya chamber.)

"We keep looking for endings. The Maya were looking for a guarantee that nothing would change. It's an entirely different mindset." (Watch: Mysterious Maya Calendar and Mural Uncovered.)

It Came From Outer Space?

That should be enough to soothe Maya-inspired worries about doomsday scenarios. But what about other potential agents of catastrophe—coronal mass ejections, a "killer planet," polar shifts?

On these possibilities, NASA can shed some light. On his blog Ask an Astrobiologist, NASA space scientist David Morrison has fielded some 5,000 questions about doomsday 2012. People want to know about the existence of Nibiru, or Planet X, and whether it's coming to destroy Earth or not. Others inquire about alignment of the heavenly bodies, shifting of the magnetic poles, and bursting of solar flares. In a YouTube video, Morrison said, "There is no threat to Earth in 2012. Nibiru does not exist. There are no special forces when planets align. Don't worry about 2012, and enjoy 2013 when it comes."

Despite this emphatic professional pushback, anxiety over our impending demise persists. According to an article in the New York Times, a number of Russians have fallen under the apocalypse spell, snatching up essentials as December 21st approaches. The story also cites apprehension in southern France, where certain camps believe Bugarach mountain has the power to protect in a doomsday scenario.

In the United States, doomsday preparers have help from people like Larry Hall, who is building underground luxury "survival condos" in Kansas missile silos leftover from the Cold War era. Careful not to judge anyone's reason for worry, he said, "I'm not saying you're right or you're wrong. I'm just trying to have a one-size-fits-all solution to whatever your threats may be."

Catherine Zuckerman knows her apocalypses. She is author of National Geographic's e-book "Doomsday 2012," which examines the enduring fascination with doomsday predictions.

National Geographic


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#453827 - 12/19/12 03:45 PM Re: Seven Reasons Why the World Won’t End This Week [Re: Marty]
Danny2 Offline
Thanks, good read.

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#453940 - 12/21/12 02:08 PM Re: Seven Reasons Why the World Won’t End This Week [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Streets: Apocalypse (Not!)

And after all that news tonight we all need some comic relief. And that's why our last story is about the so-called Mayan Apocalypse. December 21st., 2012 marks the end of the end of the 13th b'ak'tun of the Mayan Long Count Calendar. To the ancient Maya, 13 b'ak'tuns represented a full cycle of creation - which has led to all the doomsday predictions.

It sort of hocus pocus - but it's great for tourism all through southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. But while the tourists eat it up, what are the streets of Belize saying about it?

We asked our colleague Geovanni Brackett to change hats today and use his street smarts to get a sampling of public opinion. Here's what he found out:..

Interviewee
"The world cannot end. We will end, the world will not end. The calendar will not end."

Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"According to the Maya calendar the world will end. Are you aware?"

Interviewee
"No way, the world would never end because the good Lord runs this world."

Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"Tomorrow is December 21st, according to the Maya calendar the world will end. Are you concern, how do you feel?"

Interviewee
"Actually I don't feel any way because to my understanding it's just the Mayan calendar year will end, it's not really the end of the world itself."

Interviewee
"I don't think the world will end. I think it's who caught up negative it's their world that will come to an end."

Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"Do you think the world will end 2012?"

Interviewee
"It's just people who are thinking those things."

Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"You think it's just a myth?"

Interviewee
"Yes it is. I will have a busy schedule tomorrow too."

Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"Do you think so?"

Interviewee
"I don't think so."

Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"Are you worried?"

Interviewee
"No I am not."

Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"Do you think the world will end tomorrow?"

Interviewee
"I am ready, do you see. Let's be drunk first and let's have a party."

Interviewee
"Everyone in the United States think the world is going to end, but I think they are wrong."

Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"Completely wrong?"

Interviewee
"Completely wrong."

Interviewee
"What happen to Y2K? It's another sham again, it's a money making thing, they are hustling."

And if tomorrow is the end - at least you know you got to see some history tonight! At about two hours and fifteen minutes, this is the longest newscast we have ever broadcast!

If it's not the end, we'll look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow when Indira Craig will be in.

Channel 7


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#453983 - 12/22/12 01:14 AM Re: Seven Reasons Why the World Won’t End This Week [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Maya not surprised to see a world Friday morning

Editor's note: A first-person from a local Maya.

My alarm buzzed.

I rubbed my eyes as I reached for my screeching cellphone, the tone similar to the blaring klaxons you hear in movies when an impending disaster is detected at a nuclear plant.

“6:00 a.m. Friday Dec. 21, 2012.”

I walked down the stairs to open my door so Chico, my Chihuahua, could step out.

A chilly Florida breeze greeted me, as orange trees loaded with golden fruit swayed and danced in the wind, the invisible hand of nature.

“The world is still here, Chico,” I said to my 5-pound black and white Chihuahua, oblivious to the doomsday proclamation we've been hearing about for decades. “I guess we Maya were right to believe the world was not going to end today.”

As if concurring, Chico gave a chirpy bark and ran into the green fernery to deposit his share of fertilizer.

I wondered how the foreigners who started spreading the rumor that the world will end on this date, and blaming it on the Maya, felt.

Do they feel embarrassed like I did when I stole a Journey cake in my San Antonio Village home in Western Belize from my mother when she was not looking and then caught me choking because I was trying to eat fast and had nothing to drink?

“I doubt it,” I told my meowing tiger cat Irma begging for food. “They likely will be figuring out an explanation as to why the prophecy failed and blame that on the Maya too.”

Irma didn't care. She just wanted chow.

One thing for sure, the rumor-makers will be scurrying to adjust writings and published material, whose shelf life is over, to continue selling, or move on to another culture to exploit.

I am glad the time for misinformation is over since for more than two years, people who learned I am Maya, kept telling me “the Maya said the world will end and that I should be able to say how that would occur.”

Maybe now they will ask me why it didn't happen.

I learned of the Dec. 21, 2012, phenomenon from a friend, Robert Sitler, a Stetson University professor of modern languages, after I arrived in the United States in 1996.

Sitler asked me, probably hoping I would be an expert and a wealth of information about the doomsday predicted by the Maya. He never told me but he was possibly disappointed, when he ended up answering my questions about something I was supposed to be familiar with.

Truth is, most Mayan communities, if not all, had never heard of the date. We didn't know that on Friday overcast skies were supposed to be ripped open by lightning with pelting rain flooding the land and hurricane-force winds lashing us with raging fires consuming forests.

I learned from Sitler that the date simply marked the close of the 13th Pik cycle in the ancient Mayan calendar known as the Long Count. This highly anticipated date comes 1,872,000 days after the beginning of the current Mayan era in a mythical creation that, according to some fifteen ancient hieroglyphic texts, took place on Aug. 11, 3114, B.C.E.

According to Sitler, the rumor that the date would bring cataclysmic effects, was first referenced in a book by an archaeologist and author in 1966, who suggested that “Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation on the final day of the 13th bak'tun.”

The date Dec. 21, 2012, is based on the findings of archaeologists and researchers in the 1960s. The date was found inscribed on a monument in Tabasco, Mexico. A corresponding event was inscribed with the date but was unreadable due to erosion.

But it was a good money maker for those with creative imaginations, said Diego Mendez Guzman, a Tseltal Maya of Tenejapa, Chiapas. Mendez Guzman's email greeted me first thing Friday morning when I checked my electronic mail.

Mendez Guzman dedicates himself to rescuing, preserving and educating Mayas about the ancient traditions at risk of being lost. He said the rumor, fueled by movies and television, did affect some Mayan communities.

“Movies and television many times do no contribute anything good but focus on commercial ends,” Mendez Guzman said. “They do this without taking into consideration the (fear) they provoke, especially in marginal communities where there is no good communication and all people hear are bad interpretations.”

So if you woke up Friday Dec. 21, 2012 and are happy to be here enjoying Mother Nature like I am, here is what the date means, according to Mendez Guzman.

“It signifies adjustments in time, a transition from one cycle to another, that encompasses human potential and possibilities,” Mendez Guzman said. “The Mayas never said it will be the end of the world.”

Mendez Guzman concluded: “It is a time of reflection, analysis, meditation…a time to correct, recoup and revitalize life in general, the life of the planet. It is a time to find harmony with plants and animals of the scared land.”

Mendez Guzman reminded me of my father, who at the end of every year and the beginning every new one, would sit under a grapefruit tree watching the skies and feeling the wind. With a pad and a carpenter's pencil in hand, he would make notes of his observations of the weather, the positions of the moon and stars and predict the type of weather the new year will bring. All so he could plant and harvest a good crop of corn, beans and squash to feed his family.

“It's a new year,” he would say. “Let's see what la madre naturaleza and God has in store for us. Let's find that harmony with nature and the Creator, who gives us all.”

With that in mind, let's celebrate life in whichever way is special for you.

My celebration meal a la Maya style will be roasted tomatoes with diced red onions, cilantro and roasted habanero, hot corn tortillas, black beans and grilled chicken.

“Man, if only I could find some Agouti paca.”

Happy New Bak'tun to all.

Source


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#454097 - 12/24/12 02:15 PM Re: Seven Reasons Why the World Won’t End This Week [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Modern Mayan villages awash in celebration as calendar cycle resets

Caana, or Sky Temple, at Caracol archaeological site in western Belize, is one of the largest, most impressive pyramids in the Maya world. Even more than a thousand years after it was built, it remains the tallest manmade structure in all of Belize, a tiny country in Central America with both ancient Maya ruins and modern Maya communities.

Caracol is located at the end of a long, red-clay road near the Guatemalan border. On Dec. 21, 2012, the Belize Institute of Archaeology issued special camping permits and off-hours access to travelers. The reason? 13 b’aktun: the completion of the Maya Long Count calendar.

“Feliz b’aktun!” That's how people in western Belize are greeting each other this week, wishing each other happiness and cheer as the Long Count completes a major cycle.

Of the numerous ways that the ancient Maya measured time, the most complex, far-reaching is the Long Count, developed some 1500 years ago. It's a cycle of 13 b’aktuns — each b’aktun is 144,000 days. Thirteen of them equals 1,872,000 days, or 5,125 years.

Most (but not all) Maya scholars acknowledge that the Maya Long Count does indeed have an end-date that correlates to Dec. 21, 2012. Except that it's not an “end-date” in a doomsday sort of way — the Maya never said anything about a 2012 apocalypse. So while the rest of the world joked and obsessed about “the end of the world,” the Maya region is still observing the cycle change.

This week, across the "Mundo Maya" — swaths of territory once ruled by the indigenous group in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras — modern Maya villages, as well as the archaeological sites are awash in celebration and ceremony.

At Caracol, Dr. Jaime Awe, director of archaeology of Belize, organized the event. Maya elders came from southern Belize to perform a sacred fire ceremony, and the camp cooks prepared traditional Maya feasts for dinner and breakfast. There were about 300 people from all over, only a handful of whom witnessed the Maya sunset ceremony atop Caana and the 4 a.m. solstice offering. A few revelers were among the crowd, but the distance from civilization kept things rather quiet.

At Chichen Itza, a major archaeological site near Cancun, Mexico, tens of thousands of people arrived to mark the day. Traffic was backed up for miles and makeshift parking lots appeared along the roads.

In the neighboring village of Piste, outside the Chichen Itza gates, a four-day gathering called "Synthesis 2012" hosted musicians and spiritual leaders for “an unprecedented celebration to welcome a dawning of a new era of renewal, balance, and harmony," the organizers claimed.

Sandy Azancot, a tourist from Belize, spent the day of Dec. 21 at the site.

“It was a mixed bag of people there,” she said. “The usual tour groups, individual sightseers [like us] and lots and lots of New Agers and hippies! People were periodically joining hands and encircling El Castillo [the big pyramid], dancing around it in a clockwise fashion and cheering.”

Smaller Maya communities near lesser known archaeological sites chose not to invite the world to their sacred event. Tony Rath, a photographer from Belize, went to Santa Cruz, Toledo in southern Belize. He was invited by the Maya Leaders Alliance and the Q'eqchi Maya Healers Association to document the event. He said the women formed an assembly line to make corn tortillas while the men butchered four pigs for the village.

“I chose to go to Santa Cruz because it was a local celebration,” said Rath. “Things started at 5 o’clock with talks and music and food, and lasted through the night till dawn when we went to Uxbenka for the Mayejak ceremony, then back to Santa Cruz for the full Cortez Dance.”

Tourists were not invited. Rath continued, “I had a long chat with Victor Cal, a leader of the Q'eqchi Healers Association. They are celebrating the end of the 13th b'aktun and the beginning of the next. They think the whole ‘end of the world’ thing is a travesty to their beliefs, and the commercial activities at other sites, with robed hippies and faux ceremonies, are a shame.”

Back at Caracol, Dr. Awe said, “Nothing is ending. It’s a new beginning for all cultures under the sun.”

Joshua Berman is author of "Maya 2012: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize & Honduras." Follow him @tranquilotravel.

Source


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#454251 - 12/28/12 03:01 PM Re: Seven Reasons Why the World Won’t End This Week [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

A Night on Sky Temple: Honoring the Long Count at Caracol

>The final sunset of the 13th b’aktun, from the top of Caana, Sky Temple. (Photograph by Joshua Berman)
The final sunset of the 13th b’aktun, from the top of Caana, Sky Temple. (Photograph by Joshua Berman)

The black sky sparkles with white-diamond stars, splashed across the universe above me.

I’m lying on my back atop Caana, or Sky Temple, one of the largest, most impressive pyramids in the Maya world — on one of the most important dates in Maya history: 13 b’aktun.

The Belize Institute of Archaeology issued special permits for travelers to observe the winter solstice. (Photograph by Joshua Berman)

Tonight, one era ends and another begins. The most complex, far-reaching of the various calendars that the Maya created is the Long Count, developed at least 1500 years ago by the Maya and, probably, by their Olmec ancestors. On this day, an important cycle of the Long Count — 13 b’aktuns, which is equal to 1,872,000 days, or 5,125 years — is coming to completion.

That’s why the Belize Institute of Archaeology decided, for the first time ever, to issue special camping permits and off-hours access to visitors. Earlier in the day, a light, positive mood was present as several hundred people set up their tents on the lawns of the ancient plazas. There were Belizeans, foreign travelers, and Maya people, living vestiges of what was once one of the most advanced civilizations on the planet.

The stones below me were laid ages ago; the structures designed by ancient architects who drew inspiration from the same beautiful star-scape above me. After a thousand years, the temple remains the tallest man-made structure in all of Belize.

Dr. Jaime Awe, Director of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, explains Caracol's history. (Photograph by Joshua Berman)

Sleeping under the stars on top of a Maya temple in the middle of one of Central America’s largest tropical forests is the stuff of dreams. Especially in this day and age, when most major Maya sites are off limits outside daylight hours.

But tonight is different.

Another shooting star! The forest canopy rustling in the night breeze below sounds like rain, but, amazingly, the December sky is clear.

Sometime around 3:30 a.m., a drum begins to beat. Maya elders are leading a procession through the trees to perform the solstice ceremony. I know I should go (I don’t want to miss anything!), but I also don’t want to miss the show above me. So I remain in my sleeping bag, glued to the sky.

Maya elders lighting candles during the solstice ceremony. (Photograph by Joshua Berman)

That, after all, is where it all began. The sky.

Dr. Jaime Awe, who organized this event and who has excavated and studied the city of Caracol for four decades, told me that the Maya were among the world’s first astronomers. “They recorded the cycles of the sun, Venus, the Milky Way, the moon, and certainly recorded the solstices and equinoxes,” Awe said.

There are other celebrations and ceremonies going on tonight throughout the neighboring Maya regions of Guatemala, southern Mexico, and western Honduras. Some are massive concerts with international rock stars, bright lights, loud music, and enormous crowds of revelers.

But the scene at Caracol is quiet and subdued, and I cannot think of any place I’d rather be.

The scene at Caana, Sky Temple, on the final day of the Maya Long Count calendar. (Photograph by Joshua Berman)

Once more, I think about getting up and following the music and fire light down the steep steps and through the trees, but the cool, pre-dawn air stops me. Besides, I reason, I was there for the opening ceremony that took place on this pyramid six hours ago as the sun dipped into the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, which extends into the Petén wilderness of nearby Guatemala.

As I stood snapping photos of the sunset, a group of Maya elders wearing a mix of Maya textiles and Western garb appeared below, and, without fanfare, climbed the sacred temple carrying candles and copal incense. In ancient times, only religious leaders and rulers were allowed to enter, but today the space has been opened to priests and pilgrims.

Though I didn’t understand the Q’eqchi Mayan being spoken, I felt the power of the moment as they lit candles, crossed themselves, said their prayers, and made their offering.

As I looked around, I realized everyone there felt the power of the moment in some way. One woman put down her camera and wiped tears from her eyes.

At first, nobody translated or explained what was happening. Then Tim Mesh, an anthropologist from the University of Florida, spoke up.

Travelers witness the dawn of the new era from Caana. (Photograph by Joshua Berman)

“They are asking permission from their ancestors.” He explained that this is done before entering any sacred site to allow the ancient spirits to join us. Then, later, in the morning, they will perform a closing ceremony to send the spirits back to their realm.

Later, I found a small patch of stone, once a sacred chamber for Maya royalty, and rolled out my sleeping bag. The half moon began its descent, chasing the sun into the trees and leaving one of the clearest, most humbling skies I had ever seen.

They lit the candles and incense and invited us to light ours and place them on the stone. As the sky darkened and the candles burned, a man played a beautiful Native American melody on a wooden flute, adding to the dusky jungle cadence of birds and insects. Eventually, everyone descended — except me.

My vigil carries on as I drift in and out of sleep. As morning approaches, I awake to the throaty grunts of howler monkeys, carrying across the canopy from several directions.

The prospect of seeing the sun rise urges me to my feet. I stand up, stretch the hard rocks out of my back, and watch.

A narrow band of yellow appears between forest and firmament. Pink streaks, like an aurora, beam upward as the final star disappears.

As I stand there watching another day break over the horizon, I am reminded of something Dr. Awe told the assembled crowd last night: “Nothing is ending. It’s a new beginning for all cultures under the sun.”

Joshua Berman is the author of Maya 2012: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. Learn more about his work on his website, JoshuaBerman.net.


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#455976 - 01/22/13 03:24 PM Re: Seven Reasons Why the World Won’t End This Week [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Video: A Night on Sky Temple: Honoring the Maya Long Count in Belize

In 2012, a major 5,000-year-old cycle of the Maya Long Count calendar came to completion. The entire Maya region -- southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, parts of Honduras and El Salvador -- marked the event with a year full of festivities, celebration, and ceremony.

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