The Mexican archaeological institute has admitted that there is a second "reference" to a 2012 end of the world date often associated with the ancient Mayan calendar, but insists that the finding is seen as apocalyptic evidence only because of Western misinterpretations of what the Mayan calendar actually means.
The main source of the 2012 end of the world date is a stone tablet from the Tortuguero site in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco. However, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (NIAH) has revealed that there is a second reference: a "Comalcalco brick" with vague inscriptions that could be another reference to 2012, reported The Associated Press.
The existence of the brick has been talked about for some time in various online forums. Arturo Mendez, a spokesman for the NIAH, said it was discovered several years ago but kept away from the public for study.
Experts in the U.S. and Mexico are unconvinced that the brick is a reference to the end of the world.
"Some have proposed it as another reference to 2012, but I remain rather unconvinced," David Stuart, a specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a message to the AP. "There's no reason it couldn't be also a date in ancient times, describing some important historical event in the Classic period. In fact, the third glyph on the brick seems to read as the verb huli, 'he/she/it arrives.' "
"There's no future tense marking (unlike the Tortuguero phrase), which in my mind points more to the Comalcalco date being more historical that prophetic," Stuart wrote.
However, the whole notion of the Mayan calendar being a sort of countdown to the end of the world is simply the result of Western Judeo-Christian culture misinterpreting the Mayan calendar, which made reference to the beginning and ending of cycles throughout time, rather than a final, world-ending event as depicted in the Bible, according to Mayan experts at the institute.
"Western messianic thought has twisted the cosmovision of ancient civilizations like the Maya," the experts said, who are planning a roundtable discussion to "dispel some of the doubts about the end of one era and the beginning of another, in the Mayan Long Count calendar."
Many Christians would likely agree with the experts, as a common criticism of apocalypse predictor Harold Camping was that the Bible states no human can know the date of the end of the world. An oft-cited Bible passage as proof of this is Mark 13:32, which says, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."