Radio Times

Understanding the influence of the ancient Maya

May 2, 2012


Stone carving of the Maize God, 725 CE (photo courtesy Alexandra Fleischman for Penn Museum)

Hour 2

There is a lot of talk about the Maya civilization this year. That’s because the according to their calendar, the 2012 winter solstice this December is a big deal. ¬†It marks the end of their 5,125-year long creation cycle. ¬†While some have popularly warned that this signas the apocalypse, scholars say the Maya saw it not in a doomsday light but as a new beginning. ¬†The University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archeology and Anthropology¬†in Philadelphia is launching a Maya exhibit that starts this weekend exploring the Mayan calendar, culture, and our modern fascination with “end of world” predictions. ¬†Marty talks with three Maya experts about the Maya’s obsession with time-keeping, their complex writing, and how the Maya culture still exists today. ¬†Our guests are LOA TRAXLER, archaeologist and associate deputy director of the Penn Museum; SIMON MARTIN, an associate curator in the museum’s American Section and an ancient writing specialist; and ANTHONY AVENI, a professor of astronomy, anthropology and Native American studies at Colgate University and the author of¬†The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012.”

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