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Boffins find new 2012 glyph on 'secret' Mayan brick

Cryptic 1300-yr-old inscription ≠ doomsday, they insist

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The Mexican archaeology institute says that a second possible reference has been found to a date in December 2012 as the end of a 5,200-year Mayan calendar cycle after which "the cosmos is regenerated". Reportedly the glyph in question is carved into the back of a brick found in ancient temple ruins - suggesting that it was a hidden secret, not meant to be seen.

Acknowledgement of the second probably Mayan 2012 reference comes from the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History. In a statement ahead of a planned meeting of Mayan experts, the Institute says:

Of the approximately 15,000 registered glyphic texts discovered so far in different parts of the Maya area, in only two inscriptions is there mention of 2012: Monument 6 at Tortuguero, and a fragment found at Comalcalco, Tabasco, archaeological sites relatively close together.

The Tortuguero glyph is well known, and is the source of much of the hoopla regarding the Mayan calendar and possible doomsday in 2012. The Comalcalco glyph, probably inscribed in the 7th century AD, is less commonly known and many experts doubt that it refers to December 2012 at all: it might refer to the same point in a different 394-year-long "Baktun" during the present 5,200-year long count.

Intriguingly, however, the AP reports that the Comalcalco brick shows signs that its cryptic glyphs were actually on the inside or covered in stucco, so hidden from view while the temple of which it was part still stood.

The Mexican archaeological institute seeks to downplay the significance of the expiration of the thirteenth and final Baktun of the current long count on or about December 21 next year. However its statement does say:

According to the Maya concept, every 13 baktunoob (which together account for 5,200 years) the cosmos is regenerated, completing a cycle of creation.

Which might be cause for alarm. Similarly US space agency NASA has issued several rather equivocal denials that there's any truth to the 2012 apocalypse theories, saying that while mega solar flares and/or colossal "super volcanoes" most likely won't destroy the entire Earth, they could certainly cause titanic disasters and suffering on an immense scale.

Naturally it is one of firmest editorial principles here at the Reg that we deplore this type of baseless speculation, and as such we would much prefer not to give it the oxygen of publicity. Regrettably we also have a still firmer principle that it is important to make a living, so in this case we have given the Mexican statement (translated by Google) a quick blast from the old oxy bottle anyway. ®

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