Dec. 20, 2012—Dr. Annabeth Headrick, associate professor of Precolumbian Art at the University of Denver, is available to comment on the end of the Mayan calendar.
She offers the following perspective:
"Despite the New Age hype about doom and gloom, visions of the world imploding on December 21 were never really part of the Maya predictions. Instead, the ancient Maya, had the conquistadors not disrupted their world, might have acted much like us at the dawn of the 21st century, building new commemorative bridges (Millennium Bridge in London) staging elaborate fireworks, and perhaps feeling that bit of trepidation which we all have when the calendar changes, marking the dawn of a new era."
"Tomorrow, the ancient Maya calendar will mark the end of a long period of time, roughly 4,000 years, but it will be just one of many calendrical cycles. December 21, 2012 marks the end of the 12th baktun, a cycle of 144,000 days, but a new baktun will immediately start. The Maya kings linked themselves to such huge periods of time, and conducted elaborate rituals on the major calendrical changes. But they were not in fear of the world ending, only assuring that the Maya world was organized to ensure a successful new era."
Headrick teaches on the arts of the Precolumbian peoples of the Americas, including courses entitled The Art of the Maya, Mesoamerican Art, Narrative Ceramics, Gender in Precolumbian Art, Mesoamerican Manuscripts, and The Art of Death in Mesoamerica.
Her research integrates the fields of art history and anthropology, especially the sub-discipline of anthropological archaeology. She is the author of "The Teotihuacan Trinity and The Sociopolitical Structure of an Ancient Mesoamerican City" and "Landscape and Power in Ancient Mesoamerica."