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Posted May 10, 2012, 12:59 pm
Earth has a new reason to celebrate. It's looking like we will make it past Dec. 21, 2012.
According to LiveScience, researchers have unearthed the oldest-known version of the ancient Maya calendar in the Guatemalan rainforest.
Archeologist David Stuart of the University of Texas, who worked to decipher the glyphs, told LiveScience the calendar does not mark the end of the world. In fact, quiet the opposite. Stuart said, "The Mayan calendar is going to keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future. Numbers we can't even wrap our heads around."
According to SFGate the calendar, which is said to be exquisitely preserved, was found in a 1,000-year-old house in Guatemala. The home's interior was adorned with paintings of people, numbers and astronomical symbols.
The newly discovered astronomical tables are at least 500 years older than those preserved in the Maya codices, said Science magazine.
"I think we are all astonished by this find," Stephen Houston, an archeologist at Brown University who was not part of the team, told Science Magazine.
The ninth-century structure was first found in 2010, according to SFGate, by Max Chamberlain, a student of Saturno. Saturno followed looters' trails to the remote rainforest site. It was there he found the calendar exposed behind a wall destroyed by looters.
In a statement to SFGate, Anthony Aveni, professor of astronomy and anthropology at Colgate University and coauthor of the paper said, "It's like the odometer of a car, with the Maya calendar rolling over from the 120,000s to 130,000."
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William Saturno, the coauthor of the paper, explained to Science Magazine, "The Maya liked to anchor their historic events in cosmic time," which is why the culture has such a deep history and connection to calendars.
He further explained, "Maya scribes relied on calendrical knowledge to schedule key ceremonies on the most appropriate dates, such as a day when an important mythical event was said to take place or an astronomical phenomenon such as an eclipse occurred."
Saturno was extremely excited about their find. He told The Washington Post it was like, "looking into Da Vinci’s workshop.”