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Report from End of World

UCSB Archaeologist in Maya-ville for December 21 Apocalypse That Wasn’t


NEWS FLASH: Failure for the world to end!

We camped at El Pilar, up before dawn to witness the sunrise and the inauguration of the new Baktun. The fog obscured any view — it did not rise and the world did not end.

After breakfast we walked to Plaza Copal to be at the “Observatory” to appreciate how the Maya would recon the solstice. They would use the constructed horizon of the wings of Xikna as a pseudo horizon on which to mark the movements of the sun. Fred Eaton and amateur astronomer gave his explanation of the complex here.

In the afternoon we helped Betty Cruz make tamales with fresh black beans, a Maya tradition. We steamed these over a fries of the traditional fogon at the camp. While the tamales cooked, we walked to a view of the west and the sunset, visible in the distance thru low-lying clouds.

There we waited in the quiet for the nightfall, signaled by the visibility of three stars. That marked the start of the new 52-year cycle. We now can begin the new Baktun cycle!

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