Archaeologists, excavating the ninth-century Maya complex of Xultun in Guatemala, say they have found what may have been a workspace for the town’s scribe. Paintings on the walls, they report, appear to include calculations related to the Maya calendar.
The researchers, writing in today’s edition of the journal Science, say the calculations project 7,000 years into the future. There’s no hint that the calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012, despite popular belief.
“Why would they go into those numbers if the world is going to come to an end this year?” said Anthony Aveni at Colgate University, a scholar of Maya astronomy and a co-author of the paper. “You could say a number that big at least suggests that time marches on.”