A recent exploration of the ruins of Xultun in the Guatemalan rain forest has unearthed Mayan writings that show calendars dating far beyond December 21, 2012. Archaeologist William Saturno and his team found the calendar, along with several murals, painted on a wall of what is thought to be an old house.
“For the first time we get to see what may have been actual records kept by a scribe, whose job was to be the official record keeper on a Maya community,” Saturno said.
It appears the scribe used the walls as a kind of whiteboard to record dates and make calculations, and the writings contain the same symbols found on the bark-paper pages of the Dresden Codex. On one wall, there is even a reference to 17 baktuns, a cycle of time in the Mayan calendar representing roughly 400 years.
“There was a lot more to the Maya calendar than just 13 baktuns,” Professor David Stuart said.
The calendars discovered previously ended after the 13th baktun, which fueled the belief that the world would end on December 21. With this new discovery, it is clear that the Mayans did not predict the end of the world, but that a new cycle begins.
“The ancient Maya predicted the world would continue, that 7000 years from now, things would be exactly like this,” Saturno said. “We keep looking for endings. The Maya were looking for a guarantee that nothing would change. It’s an entirely different mindset.”