Keep Watching the Dirt

Try not to be too disappointed, but it looks like the world isn’t ending this year after all. In the Mayan city of Xultun archeologists have unearthed another ancient Mayan calendar that ends much later than 2012:

On another wall sits a smaller set of four columns of figures. These took a bit more puzzling. But eventually the all-star Mayan scholar team assembled by [archeologist William] Saturno figured it out: This second table was filled with huge numbers relating to how long it takes Mars and Venus to cross the sky and come back again.

This calendar spans some 7,000 years — heading much farther into the future than the supposed doomsday date.

Scholars have known about the abandoned Guatemalan site since 1915 but are only beginning to study it. The mural with the calendar has survived the centuries because the ancient Mayans themselves had filled the building it’s in with dirt and rubble.

“They just backed themselves out the door and left,” [Saturno] said; no one knows why.

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