Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union

Contributed Papers

It's not the End of the World: emic evidence for local diversity in the Maya Long Count

Mark Van Stonea1

a1 School of Arts & Communication, Southwestern College, 900 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista, CA 91910, USA email:


Examining Ancient Maya notions about prophecies and their calendar cycles, we find that they predicted no ‘end of the Maya calendar’. Indeed, surviving texts and art indicate that they seem to have expected no change in the status quo whatever, for at least 4000 years into the future. This search also turned up evidence that different local schools of calendar-priests differed significantly from each other; it is entirely possible that priests in one city expected the End of the World, while their peers elsewhere believed the opposite.

(Online publication July 26 2011)


  • 2012 phenomenon;
  • Maya astronomy;
  • Maya calendar;
  • Long Count