Tuesday, November 3, 2009

December 2012 marks the ending of the current baktun cycle of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Though the Long Count was used by many cultures in pre-Columbian America and was most likely invented by the Olmec,[5] it has become closely associated with the Maya civilization, whose classic period lasted from 250 to 900 AD.[6] The Long Count set its "year zero" at a point in the past marking the end of the previous world and the beginning of the current one, which corresponds to either 11 or 13 August 3114 BC in the Proleptic Gregorian calendar, depending on the formula used.[7]
Unlike the 52-year calendar round still used today among the Maya, the Long Count was linear, rather than cyclical, and kept time roughly in units of 20, so 20 days made a uinal, 18 uinals, or 360 days, made a tun, 20 tuns made a katun, and 20 katuns, or 144,000 days, made up a baktun. So, for example, the Mayan date of represents 8 baktuns, 3 katuns, 2 tuns, 10 uinals and 15 days since creation. Many Mayan inscriptions have the count shifting to a higher order after 13 baktuns.[8][9] Today, the most widely accepted correlations of the end of the thirteenth baktun, or Mayan date, with the Western calendar are either December 21 or December 23, 2012.[10] Even before the dating issue was settled, the early Mayanist and astronomer Maud Worcester Makemson had written in 1957 that "[t]he completion of a Great Period of 13 baktuns would have been of the utmost significance to the Maya".[11] After the correct date was determined, the anthropologist Munro S. Edmonson added that "there appears to be a strong likelihood that the eral calendar, like the year calendar, was motivated by a long-range astronomical prediction, one that made a correct solsticial forecast 2,367 years into the future in 355 B.C. [sic]".[12]

No comments:

Post a Comment