From: CIO today
Curators at the Houston Museum of Natural Science are launching an exhibit designed to demystify the Maya and debunk the myth that the ancient culture predicted doomsday on Dec. 21, 2012.
Visitors will walk darkened halls lined with pottery, jade carvings and rubbings of jungle monuments, all tied in some way to the sophisticated Maya calendar. They should come away with at least one thought: The sun will rise on Dec. 22.
“The calendar is there, and it will continue, so nobody ought to be afraid of what Dec. 21 will bring because there will be a Dec. 22 and, yes, there will be a Christmas,” said Dirk Van Tuerenhout, curator of the “Maya 2012 Prophecy Becomes History” exhibit opening Friday.
The Maya calendars are complex, cyclical countdowns that helped an ancient people who dwelled in the jungles, mountains and coastal regions of Central America track crucial events — especially the rain — and build large cities, some with as many as 90,000 people.
The exhibit takes visitors back nearly 3,500 years. Murals carefully reconstructed by Yale University depict images in the jungle monuments in Bonampak in the Mexican state of Chiapas, such as the Maya celebrating the induction of a new heir to the throne.
The exhibit shows how the Maya calendars largely focused on the daily needs of a society by counting what we call days, months and years.