Doomsday fears were sparked eight years ago by the assumption that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world to occur on or around December 21, 2012. It was regarded as the end-date of a 5,126-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, and festivities took place to commemorate the event. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae were proposed, with scenarios suggesting the arrival of the next solar maximum, an interaction between Earth and a black hole, or a collision with the mythical planet called Nibiru.
But, a stunning find made at the Xultun ruins of Guatemala not only ruined that prediction but may also offer a new date.
Researchers uncovered astronomical tables carved into the wall of a 1,200-year-old residential building charting planetary movements, Moon and star patterns, and predictions for the positions of celestial bodies thousands of years into the past and the future.
The archaeologists revealed that these tables – which pre-date the oldest known finds by as much as 500 years – span over 7,000 years of time, stretching far beyond the present age.
This may suggest that previous doomsday predictions were off by several thousand years.
But Dr William Saturno, assistant professor in Archaeology at Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences, said there is no reason to fear the end of the world again.
Speaking in 2012, he declared: “The ancient Maya predicted the world would continue, that 7,000 years from now, things would be exactly like this.
“We keep looking for endings. The Maya were looking for a guarantee that nothing would change. It’s an entirely different mindset.”
He compared the calendar to a car’s mileage count, which ticks over at mile 99,999.99 and resets to zero.
READ MORE: End of the world: Mayan doomsday resurgence after ‘we are technically in 2012’ claim
The Mayan civilisation occupied Central America from about 2000BC until its decline and assimilation following the colonisation by the Spanish from the 16th Century onwards.
It still holds fascination, with many early Maya sites still hidden or uncatalogued.
The ruins at Xultun were first discovered in 1912 and mapping efforts in the Twenties and Seventies laid out much of the site’s structure.
Archaeologists have catalogued the site’s features, including a 35-metre pyramid, but thousands of structures on site remain unexplored.