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Mayan artefact points to 2012 apocalypse

Nick Allen in Los Angeles

Published 26/11/2011 | 05:00

ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Mexico have discovered a 1,300-year-old Mayan inscription which adds to speculation of an apocalypse next year.

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The reference to the date 2012, which was found on a carved brick fragment at a ruin at Comalcalco, south Mexico, is the second mention of the date, believed to herald the end of the world. Experts have previously cited only one surviving Mayan reference to the date, on a stone tablet from a nearby site at Tortuguero.

Speculation that the ancient Mayans foretold a cataclysmic event was turned into a Hollywood film, '2012', two years ago, but the idea has been dismissed by most archaeologists.

The Maya civilisation reached its height from 300-900AD. Its 'long count' calendar begins in 3,114BC, marking time in roughly 394-year periods known as Baktuns. Thirteen was a significant, sacred number and the 13th Baktun ends around December 21, 2012.

According to the Tortuguero inscription, Bolon Yokte, a Mayan god associated with war and creation, will "descend from the sky" at that time. But, following the latest discovery, Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History said the Mayans saw time as regular cycles, which did not end in apocalypse. The Comalcalco brick is believed to have been laid facing inward or covered with stucco, suggesting it was not meant to be seen.

David Stuart, a Mayan specialist at the University of Texas at Austin, said: "There's no reason it [2012] couldn't be also a date in ancient times, describing some important historical event in the Classic period." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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