MesoAmericas

Mayan December 21, 2012 End Date Wrong?

Reprint from ABCNews.

The Mayan Inscriptions' Palace at the Palenque archaeological site, in Chiapas state. (Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Professor Gerardo Aldana, an associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at U.C. Santa Barbara, said that the date could be inaccurate by 50 to 100 years or even more.

Aldana says that scholars have used the fixed numerical value called GMT constant to figure out the correlation between the Mayan and Gregorian dates. He says that the method has never been proven conclusively.

He added that his findings might challenge the accepted Gregorian dates, which are published in the new book “Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World.”

In his research, he attempted to reconstruct the astronomical practices of the ancient Maya people.

“One of the principal complications is that there are really so few scholars who know the astronomy, the epigraphy, and the archeology,” Aldana said in a release.

“Because there are so few people who are working on that, you get people who don’t see the full scope of the problem. And because they don’t see the full scope, they buy into things they otherwise wouldn’t. It’s a fun problem.”

Researcher Questions Accuracy of Mayan Calendar’s 2012 Prophecy and Other Dates

The GMT constant, named for early Mayan scholars Joseph Goodman, Juan Martinez-Hernandez and J. Eric S. Thompson, is partly based on astronomical events. Those early Mayanists relied heavily on dates found in colonial documents written in Mayan languages and recorded in the Latin alphabet, the release said.

A later scholar, American linguist and anthropologist Floyd Lounsbury, further supported the GMT constant.

But, through his research reconstructing Mayan astronomical practices and reviewing data in the archeological record, the release said Aldana found weaknesses in Lounsbury’s work that cause the argument behind the GMT constant to fall “like a stack of cards.”

“This may not seem to be much, but what it does is destabilize the entire argument,” he said.

“A few scholars have stood up and said, ‘No, the GMT is wrong,'” Aldana said. “But in my opinion, what they’ve done is try to provide alternatives without looking at why the GMT is wrong in the first place.”

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