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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