The apocalyptic prophecy that has inspired authors and filmmakers never appears in the tall T-shaped stone calendar that was carved by the Maya around the year 669 in southeastern Mexico.
In reality, the stone recounts the life and battles of a ruler from that era, experts said.
And the last date on the calendar is actually December 23, 2012, not the 21st, and it merely marks the end of a cycle, they stated.
“The Mayas had a cyclical idea of time. They were not preoccupied with the end of the world,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Mexican archaeologist Jose Romero as saying.
“The last inscription refers to December 23, 2012, but the central theme of Monument 6 is not the date, it’s not the prophecies or the end of the world. It’s the story of (then ruler) Bahlam Ajaw,” Romero stated.
The final date represents the end of a cycle in the Mayan long count calendar that began in the year 3114 before Christ. It is the completion of 13 baak t’uunes, a unit of time equivalent to 144,000 days.
“It is not the end of the Mayan long count calendar, which is endless. It’s the beginning of a new cycle, that’s all,” said Mexican historian Erick Velasquez.
Though the Maya made prophecies, they looked at events in the near future and were related to day-to-day concerns like rain, droughts, or harvests.
The experts said the belief that the calendar foresees the end of the world comes from Judeo-Christian interpretations.
Velasquez warned against giving too attention to Monument 6, noting that it is just one of more than 5000 stones from the Mayan culture that have been studied.
The earth still has a few years left, even in eyes of the ancient Maya: Some stones refer to the year 700, they noted.
Sydney: Experts have debunked the doomsday myth, saying that the Maya people did not really mark their calendar for the end of the world on December 21, 2012.
First Published: Thursday, November 22, 2012, 17:31