The Maya refer to both a modern-day people who can be found all over the world as well as their ancestors who built an ancient civilization that stretched throughout much of Central America, one that reached its peak during the first millennium A.D.
The Maya civilization was never unified; rather, it consisted of numerous small states, ruled by kings, each apparently centered on a city. Sometimes, a stronger Maya state would dominate a weaker state and be able to exact tribute and labor from it.
While hunters and gatherers had a presence in Central America stretching back thousands of years, it was in what archaeologists call the Pre-classic period (1800 B.C. to A.D. 250) that permanent village life really took off, leading to the creation of early Maya cities.
“Really effective farming, in the sense that densely inhabited villages were to be found throughout the Maya area, was an innovation of the Pre-classic period,” wrote Yale University Professor Michael Coe in his book “The Maya” (Thames and Hudson, 2011).
Coe said farming became more effective during this period, likely because of the breeding of more productive forms of maize and, perhaps more importantly, the introduction of the “nixtamal” process. In this process, the maize is soaked in lime, or something similar, and cooked, something that “enormously increased the nutritional value of corn,” writes Coe. Maize complemented squash, bean, chili pepper and manioc (or cassava), which were already being used by the Maya, a 2014 Journal of Archaeological Science study shows.
During this time, the Maya were influenced by a civilization to the west of them known as the Olmecs. These people may have initially devised the long count calendar that the Maya would become famous for, Coe writes. Additionally, the discovery of a ceremonial site dated to 1000 B.C. at the site of Ceibal sheds more light on the relationship between the Maya and Olmecs, suggesting that it was a complex one.
Archaeologists have found that early Maya cities could be carefully planned. Nixtun-Ch’ich, in Peten, Guatemala, had pyramids, temples and other structures built using a grid system, a sign of urban planning. It flourished between 600 B.C. and 300 B.C.
A system of writing using glyptic symbols was developed and was inscribed on buildings, stele, artifacts and books (also called codices).
The Maya calendar system was complicated. “By some 1,700 years ago speakers of proto-Ch’olan, the ancestor for three Maya languages still in use, had developed a calendar of 18 20-day months plus a set of five days,” wrote Weldon Lamb, a researcher at New Mexico State University, in his book “The Maya Calendar: A Book of Months” (University of Oklahoma Press, 2017).
This calendar system also included what scholars call a “long-count” that kept track of time by using different units that range in length from a single day to millions of years (the unit in millions was rarely used).
Contrary to popular belief, this system did not predict the end of the world in 2012, the unit in millions of years providing evidence of this.
Also, contrary to popular belief, the Maya civilization never vanished. While many cities were abandoned around 1,100 years ago, other cities, such as Chichén Itzá, grew in their place.
A newly discovered Mayan text reveals the “end date” for the Mayan calendar, becoming only the second known document to do so. But unlike some modern people, ancient Maya did not expect the world to end on that date, researchers said.
“This text talks about ancient political history rather than prophecy,” Marcello Canuto, the director of Tulane University Middle America Research Institute, said in a statement. “This new evidence suggests that the 13 bak’tun date was an important calendrical event that would have been celebrated by the ancient Maya; however, they make no apocalyptic prophecies whatsoever regarding the date.”
The Mayan Long Count calendar is divided into bak’tuns, or 144,000-day cycles that begin at the Maya creation date. The winter solstice of 2012 (Dec. 21) is the last day of the 13th bak’tun, marking what the Maya people would have seen as a full cycle of creation.
New Age believers and doomsday types have attributed great meaning to the Dec. 21, 2012 date, with some predicting an apocalypse and others some sort of profound global spiritual event. But only one archaeological reference to the 2012 date had ever been found, as an inscription on a monument dating back to around A.D. 669 in Tortuguero, Mexico.
Now, researchers exploring the Mayan ruins of La Corona in Guatemala have unearthed a second reference. On a stairway block carved with hieroglyphs, archaeologists found a commemoration of a visit by Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ of Calakmul, the most powerful Mayan ruler in his day. The king, also known as Jaguar Paw, suffered a terrible defeat in battle by the Kingdom of Tikal in 695.
Historians have long assumed that Jaguar Paw died or was captured in this battle. But the carvings proved them wrong. In fact, the king visited La Corona in A.D. 696, probably trying to shore up loyalty among his subjects in the wake of his defeat four years earlier. [See images of the carvings]
As part of this publicity tour, the king was calling himself the “13 k’atun lord,” the carvings reveal. K’atuns are another unit of the Maya calendar, corresponding to 7,200 days or nearly 20 years. Jaguar Paw had presided over the ending of the 13th of these k’atuns in A.D. 692.
That’s where the 2012 calendar end date comes in. In an effort to tie himself and his reign to the future, the king linked his reign with another 13th cycle — the 13th bak’tun of Dec. 21, 2012.
“What this text shows us is that in times of crisis, the ancient Maya used their calendar to promote continuity and stability rather than predict apocalypse,” Canuto said.
La Corona was the site of much looting and has only been explored by modern archaeologists for about 15 years. Canuto and his dig co-director Tomas Barrientos Q. of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala announced the discovery of the new calendar text Thursday (June 28) at the National Palace in Guatemala.
The researchers first uncovered the carved stone steps in 2010 near a building heavily damaged by looters. The robbers had missed this set of 12 steps, however, providing a rare example of stones still in their original places. The researchers found another 10 stones from the staircase that had been moved but then discarded by looters. In total, these 22 stones boast 264 hieroglyphs tracing the political history of La Corona, making them the longest known ancient Maya text in Guatemala.
Source Live Science
December 30 – 31 2019 (December 21 2012 Ethiopian Calendar):
On the evening of [30 Dec 2019], an “urgent notice on the treatment of pneumonia of unknown cause” was issued, which was widely distributed on the Internet by the red-headed document of the Medical Administration and Medical Administration of Wuhan Municipal Health Committee.
On the morning of [31 Dec 2019], China Business News reporter called the official hotline of Wuhan Municipal Health and Health Committee 12320 and learned that the content of the document is true.
May be it’s time to stop using the wrong calendar and start using the right one. The Mayan never predicted the end of the world, rather they gave us a choice to make the decision between good and evil. Instead of blaming each other, it’s time to come together to save the world from this Corona outbreak.