Library of Congress Magazine (LCM), Vol. 1 No. 2: November-December 2012 Page: 3
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THE END OF THE WORLD: 2012
THE MAYA CALENDAR HAS GENERATED A LOT OF BUZZ ABOUT THE
IMPENDING END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, ON DEC. 21, 2012.
AN INTERPRETATION OF THE MAYAS' "Long Count" calendar, which
began with the ritual date of Maya creation, Aug. 11, 3114 B.C., shows
its end on Dec. 21, 2012.
Don't delay your Christmas shopping just yet. Nothing in what is
known of Maya writing supports this conjecture.
That reassuring word comes from art historian and epigrapher Mark
Van Stone. In his book, "2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient
Maya," he takes a scientific and archaeological-focused look at what the
ancient Maya actually believed. Van Stone, who spoke at the Library of
Congress in October, concludes that end-of-the world prophecies are
the creations of our current society, with little basis in what is known
about the Maya and their beliefs.
David Stuart, the foremost expert on Maya hieroglyphs, agrees. In
his book, "The Order of Days: The Maya World and the Truth about
2012," Stuart reveals that by deciphering dates and information carved
into stone stelae (monuments), one may postulate that the full Maya
calendar accounts for nearly 72 octillion years. Stuart delivered the fifth
Jay I. Kislak lecture on this topic at the Library last year.
In addition to establishing the lecture series, the Jay I. Kislak
Foundation donated to the Library an important collection of books,
manuscripts, historical documents, maps and art of the early Americas.
A permanent rotating exhibition of materials from the Kislak
Collection, "Exploring the Early Americas," opened in December 2007
and remains on view in the Thomas Jefferson Building.
A handful of Maya artifacts were recently rotated into the "Early
Americas" exhibition in a section titled "The Heavens and Time:
2012 Phenomenon."These include a facsimile edition of the Dresden
Codex-the most comprehensive source of the Maya calendar system
and astronomy-and the oldest known book written in the Americas.
O MORE INFORMATION:
View the Early Americas exhibition online
myLOC.gov/Exh i bitions/EarlyAmericas/
View a webcast of Mark Van Stone's lecture
View a webcast of David Stuart's Kislak lecture
www. I oc .gov/webcasts/
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The Dresden Codex I Rare Book and Special
November/December 20121 www.loc.gov/lcm
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Office of Communications, Library of Congress. Library of Congress Magazine (LCM), Vol. 1 No. 2: November-December 2012, periodical, November 2012; Washington, D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc133017/m1/5/: accessed March 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .