Posted by: Johan Normark | December 9, 2010

2012: We already live in a postapocalyptic world (a final note on the correlation problem)

In case you desire a calendar designed according to the supposed “end date” of the Maya Long Count you might be interested in this one:

A 23.97 month calendar packed with digital artwork from all over the world. Features a countdown to the End of the World, prophecies, and information regarding December 21, 2012. Any theories or predictions you may have heard are explained here: Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, Time Wave Zero, Webbot, Pole Shift, World War III, The Bible, Solar Flares, Gamma Ray Bursts, Global Warming, Cataclysm, Planet X, Hopi Prophecy, Dead Sea Scrolls, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Rapture, and much more.

There is not much Maya in that calendar which of course is what you should expect since this 2012 circus just reflects the hysteria among some Westerners. The only Maya associated picture that seems to appear is one with the Castillo at Chichen Itza being flooded. The irony that apparently no 2012er seems to understand is that the Castillo and more specifically Chichen Itza is one of those sites that provide us with archaeological data that seriously questions the whole GMT correlation upon which the December 21, 2012 date depends. I am currently reading Stanley Guenter’s MA thesis from 2002 (Under a Falling Star: The Hiatus at Tikal) for a completely different reason. In one of the appendices Stan discusses the problems inherent with the GMT correlation and radiocarbon dating.

The Iglesia structure at Chichen Itza has radiocarbon dates of AD 600 +/- 70 and AD 780 +/- 70 (average 690) and the Casa Colorada dates to 610 +/- 70. These buildings are associated with inscriptions that record their dedications (or the groups they are part of). According to the GMT these dates are much later than those provided by radiocarbon dating. The Iglesia structure is part of the Monjas complex which according to the GMT was dedicated on 4 february, 880. This is roughly two centuries after the radiocarbon dates. The Casa Colorada has two inscribed dates whose GMT dates are 11 September, 869 and 12 June, 870. This is also roughly two centuries later than the radiocarbon date.

The Castillo itself is not associated with any inscriptions but the High Priest Grave, which is a similar but smaller radial pyramid, has an inscription dating to 8 May, 998. The Castillo cannot be much earlier than this date but it has provided the radiocarbon dates AD 755 +/- 70 and AD 776 +/- 100. It is, once again, a roughly two centuries difference between the GMT correlated date and the radiocarbon date.

Temple I at Tikal

According to this difference the 13 Baktun date was reached already two centuries ago! Hence we already live in a postapocalyptic world. But why have Mayanists maintained the GMT correlation? It is because radiocarbon dating of the wooden lintels at Tikal provided results that better correlated with the GMT but it is still problematic. A radiocarbon date from Temple I is calibrated to 684 +/- 37 and its lintel is believed to have been carved between 720 and 735 in the GMT. The correlation is barely within the expected range. Temple IV has provided a radiocarbon date of 746 +/-34 and two inscribed dates: the period ending on 26 June, 741 and a later date, 7 March, 747. Here the correlation is almost perfect. However, more problematic is the radiocarbon date from 5D-52 which is 621 +/- 20. The recorded period ending falls on 26 June, 741. Here the difference is a century.

It is of course possible that Tikal and Chichen Itza may have had different Long Counts which means that the GMT cannot be used for all areas. There are as far as I know no known dates of events from the northern lowlands that correspond to the same event in the southern lowlands. However, most of the data provided in the correlation issue that I described a month ago derives from the northern Yucatan area, far closer to Chichen Itza than Tikal. In all likelihood, if the GMT is correct, it should better fit the Chichen Itza data. That is not the case.

Now would you buy a calendar that already is several years after the “apocalypse” and that includes pseudoscientific nonsense as well? I hope you don’t support this growing circus. Let it not be the last calendar you will ever own.

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  1. There has been a long standing debate among scholars as to the exact correlation of the Mayan calendar with the European calendar. A number of researchers including my father Maya archaeologist Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi, (Dr. Stephan Borhegyi), better known as Borhegyi, and most notably E. Wyllys Andrews (1960, 1965, 1965c, 1968, 1973) have presented convincing archaeological evidence favoring the correlation developed by Herbert Spinden. It is the Spinden correlation that sets all Maya dates 260 years earlier than the G.M.T. correlation.

    In many ways the Spinden correlation, which uses archaeological evidence from both the Maya lowlands and the southern highland regions, fits the archaeological and historical requirements better than the GMT correlation. In February of 1951, my father was asked by the Carnegie Institution of Washington, to collect samples of Sapodilla wood for radiocarbon testing, from the dated lintels, (beams) which span the doorways of the Late Classic Maya temples at Tikal. These radiocarbon tests in 1951, and further tests which were performed in 1955 favored the Spinden correlation. But in 1960 new radiocarbon tests were performed, using new and improved techniques, which at that time favored the GMT correlation. So Maya scholars came to a consensus favoring the Thompson or GMT correlation over the Spinden correlation. To this day the debate on the subject has never ceased. Due to various discrepancies in the tests, radiocarbon dating has not resolved the matter as to which correlation is correct.

    For anyone interested, I do have in my possession, from Feb. of 1951, the unused portion of sapodilla wood taken from the dated lintel at Tikak (Group C. Str. 60) that my father saved, which I would be willing to have retested someday.
    Carl de Borhegyi

    For more read 2012 Alert! at

  2. Did you not post the exact same comment in another post a while ago?

    Is the sapodilla wood kept in a sealed container (for 60 years). I suspect the risk of contamination is pretty high. Maybe Gerardo Aldana would be interested?

  3. [...] calendar rounds and will occur in roughly 104 years. Few will claim that we have been living in a postapocalyptic world for two centuries [...]



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