The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

December 9, 2012

Professor: No end in sight

BLOOMSBURG — The end is near — maybe.

It all depends on your view of the ending of the ancient Mayan calendar, which many experts believe runs out on Dec. 21 or 23, depending on your calculations, said Tom Aleto, an anthropology professor at Bloomsburg University who specializes in the Mayans.

“(The date difference) depends on your opinion of the Mayans’ interpretation of the Venus cycle,” he said.

The Mayan Long Count calendar started counting at 3114 B.C. and measured cycles of time in what are called “baktuns,” which consist of 144,000 days each, Aleto said. This December, the calendar will have run through 13 baktuns, or 5,125 years, which the Mayans believed was a significant period.

“They considered this a symbolically meaningful series of time, just like we put a lot of meaning into a century,” he said.

However, the meaning of the end of the time cycle is not that the world is going to end, said Aleto, who said he was caught off guard by the hysteria created by the calendar ending.

“It is essentially the same as when we hit the year 2000,” he said.

 

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