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News Link • Anthropology

Two Months 'Til Doomsday? Mayan Apocalypse Set for Dec. 21

•, Stephanie Pappas

Today (Oct. 21) starts the two-month countdown toward doomsday, according to an interpretation of the Mayan calendar that has taken hold in some New Age and spiritualist communities online.

Two ancient texts confirm the end date of the Mayan Long Count calendar on the winter solstice of this year, which is Dec. 21, 2012. That day is the last day of the 13th bak'tun, or 144,000-day cycle, of the calendar. Ancient Maya would have seen the end of the 13th bak'tun as the end of a full cycle of creation.

 However, experts in Mayan history say the end of the Long Count calendar is the equivalent of needing to buy a new calendar every year in December — not a harbinger of doomsday.

"This new evidence suggests that the 13 bak'tun date was an important calendrical event that would have been celebrated by the ancient Maya; however, they make no apocalyptic prophecies whatsoever regarding the date," Marcello Canuto, the director of Tulane University Middle America Research Institute, told LiveScience after the discovery of an ancient text referring to the date.

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