Watching one of the worst hosts on a History Channel show going on about how the Great Mayan Empire predicted the end of the WORLD! Cities of The Underworld has some decent photography, and I really have enjoyed a couple episodes, but the host and the writers really don’t seem to do their homework. I have a feeling that they might be beating up the tech crew, forcing them to do the writers’ homework; doing it really half-assed is their way to fight back.
To measure longer time periods, they developed the “long count” calendar, which expressed dates as a series of five numbers, each less than twenty; something like the way we measure minutes and seconds as a series of two numbers each less than sixty. And, just in case this might seem too simple, for some reason the second to last number was always less than eighteen.
The first day in the Mayan long count calendar was expressed as 0.0.0.0.0, and by our calendar, this was August 11, 3114 BC. Every 144,000 days (or about every 395 years, which they called a baktun), the first number would increment, and a new baktun would start.
Recall how we all got to enjoy the excitement on the millennium of watching the digital displays roll over from 12/31/1999 to 1/1/2000? Well, that’s what’s going to happen on December 21, 2012 to the Mayan calendar. It’s going to roll over from 18.104.22.168.19 to 22.214.171.124.0, just as it has done each of the previous twelve baktuns.
There’s no archaeological or historical evidence that the Mayans themselves expected anything other than a New Year’s Eve party to happen on this date
There are plenty of other unproven theories about the end of the world; what makes the Mayan Calendar such a big risk, especially with the failure of that 1/1/2000 rollover to break things?