UCF Professor Tackles Doomsday Question on History Channel
Aug. 1, 2006

By Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala

UCF anthropology professor Arlen Chase tackles the Maya myth that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012 when their ancient calendar appears to revert back to zero, zero.

Chase lends his expertise to “Decoding the Past; Mayan Doomsday Prophecy” on the History Channel Thursday (Aug. 3) at 9 p.m. Producers put together a group of archaeologists, astrologers, and historians to speculate on the meaning of the 2012 prophecy.

Some of the prophecies left behind by the Maya indicate that when a 4,000 year cycle in the Maya calendar closes, Armageddon will be upon us.

“But nothing is going to happen,” Chase said. “The show is very well done, showing different points of view. It’s very interesting and the graphics are fantastic, but that doesn’t change the fact nothing is going to happen Dec. 21, 2012. I think some people are misinterpreting the Maya.”

During the hour-long program, Chase talks about the complex calendar from Chichen Itza, the heart of the Maya civilization deep in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Clear graphics, stunning landscape from several ruins and dramatic re-enactments take the viewer through a lively look at the doomsday myth and potential warnings for avoiding it.

Chase has been studying the Maya for several decades and has written more than 100 articles about the subject. Since 1983 he and his wife, archeologist Diane Chase, have been taking UCF students working on their bachelors of anthropology to Caracol, Belize to excavate one of the most significant Mayan cities outside Mexico. Both professors are leading experts looking at what happened to the Maya and why they disappeared. They suspect it had to do more with socio-economics than a natural disaster.

The Maya are well known for their skills in astronomy and math, having created one of the most sophisticated calendars known to man. They were kept in written form as well as represented in the pyramids they built in Mesoamerica.

They tracked the stars and planets and made many predictions, some of which have come true, according to several authors on the show. “Could their doomsday prophecy be one of them?” asks the History Channel.