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New evidence the end of world is nigh

Mexico’s archaeology institute, which downplays theories that ancient Mayas predicted some sort of apocalypse would occur in 2012, has admitted that a second reference to the date exists.

It is on a carved fragment found at a southern Mexico ruin site.


The Comalcalco Brick... has been discussed by experts in some online forums


Most experts had cited only one surviving reference to the date in Mayan glyphs, a stone tablet from the Tortuguero site in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.

But the National Institute of Anthropology and History said that there is in fact another apparent reference to the date at the nearby Comalcalco ruin.

The inscription is on the carved or moulded face of a brick. Comalcalco is unusual among Mayan temples in that it was built with bricks.

Arturo Mendez, a spokesman for the institute, said the fragment of inscription had been discovered years ago and has been subject to thorough study. It is not on display and is being kept in storage at the institute.

The Comalcalco Brick, as the second fragment is known, has been discussed by experts in some online forums. Many still doubt that it is a definite reference to December 21, 2012 or December 23 2012, the dates cited by proponents of the theory as the possible end of the world. “Some have proposed it as another reference to 2012, but I remain rather unconvinced,” said David Stuart, a specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin.

He said the date inscribed on the brick “is a ‘Calendar Round’, a combination of a day and month position that will repeat every 52 years.

The brick date does coincide with the end of the 13th Baktun; Baktuns were roughly 394-year periods and 13 was a significant, sacred number for the Mayas.

The Mayan Long Count calendar begins in 3114 BC, and the 13th Baktun ends around December 21, 2012.

But the date on the brick could also correspond to similar dates in the past, Mr Stuart said.

“There’s no reason it couldn’t be also a date in ancient times, describing some important historical event in the Classic period,” he said.

Both inscriptions – the Tortuguero tablet and the Comalcalco brick – were probably carved about 1,300 years ago and both are cryptic in some ways.

The Tortuguero inscription describes something that is supposed to occur in 2012 involving Bolon Yokte, a mysterious Mayan god associated with both war and creation.

However, erosion and a crack in the stone make the end of the passage almost illegible, though some read the last eroded glyphs as perhaps saying: “He will descend from the sky.”

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