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Archaeologists Find Oldest Known Mayan Calendar 185

Posted by samzenpus
from the when-does-it-end? dept.
sciencehabit writes "A team of American researchers has discovered a small trove of ancient Mayan texts in a surprising place. In a paper published online today in Science, researchers report finding Mayan astronomical tables and other texts painted and incised on the walls of a 1200-year-old residential building at the site of Xultún in Guatemala. The newly discovered astronomical tables are at least 500 years older than those preserved in the Maya codices, giving researchers a new glimpse of science at the height of the Maya civilization. 'I think we are all astonished by this find,' says Stephen Houston, an archaeologist at Brown University who was not part of the team."
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Archaeologists Find Oldest Known Mayan Calendar

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  • No Doomsday (Score:5, Informative)

    by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @10:11PM (#39962337) Homepage Journal

    More importantly, the records they found at the site indicate that the Mayans viewed the calendar as CYCLICAL and just like our Bad Girls of Linux Wall Calendar, the world doesn't end when the last day of the Calendar is reached.

    Notably absent was the Thirteenth Crystal Skull and ancient UFO instruction manual.

  • by alen (225700) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @10:30PM (#39962483)

    the mayans killed themselves long before the europeans came over. they weren't one people, but a group of city states always fighting each other and destroying neighboring cities

  • by dmbasso (1052166) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @10:51PM (#39962617)

    He was talking about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_codices [wikipedia.org]
    “[...] recorded their history for more than eight hundred years back, and that were interpreted for me by very ancient Indians.” (Zorita 1963, 271-2). Fr. Bartolomé de las Casas lamented that when found, such books were destroyed: "These books were seen by our clergy, and even I saw part of those that were burned by the monks, apparently because they thought [they] might harm the Indians in matters concerning religion, since at that time they were at the beginning of their conversion."
    And this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Inquisition [wikipedia.org]
    "[...] The failure of this movement prompted more aggressive evangelization, with the Franciscans finding out that despite their efforts much of traditional beliefs and practice survived. They, under the leadership of Fray Diego de Landa, decided to make an example of those they considered back-sliders without regard to proper legal formalities. Large numbers of people were subjected to torture and as many of the Maya sacred books as could be found were burned."
    The emphasis on the "good" actions of the church is mine.

  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @10:59PM (#39962655)

    I think you mean the Buddhas statues in Afghanistan [wikipedia.org]? I know that this is a pathetic troll, but figure I should nip this in the bud right here:

    Most muslims were opposed to the action, even high ranking officials in the Taliban.

    In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha's statue. Because Afghanistan's Buddhist population no longer exists, which removed the possibility of the statues being worshiped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.

    According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states – including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government – joined the protest to spare the monuments. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates later condemned the destruction as "savage".

    Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented. According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef, UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese and Sri Lankan delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas.

  • Re:No Doomsday (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @01:58AM (#39963571)

    More importantly, the records they found at the site indicate that the Mayans viewed the calendar as CYCLICAL and just like our Bad Girls of Linux Wall Calendar, the world doesn't end when the last day of the Calendar is reached.

    Notably absent was the Thirteenth Crystal Skull and ancient UFO instruction manual.

    I was so terribly disappointed when I googled for the Bad Girls of Linux calendar and didn't find anything. Sadist.

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