The end of time? Not so says archaeologist

The supposed fateful day of December 21, 2012 marks the end of the Mayan calendar and, to hear some tell it, doomsday for Earth.

Not so fast, says Maya Exploration Center Director Dr. Ed Barnhart, an archaeologist with more than a decade of experience in Mesoamerica as an explorer and an instructor.  Northeast State welcomes Barnhart to campus on April 10 to discuss the infamous calendar, Mayan history, and separate fact from Internet fantasy.

Barnhart’s lecture happens at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts at the main campus, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Dr. Ed Barnhart at a Maya ruin in Mexico.

On the 12/21/2012 date, doomsayers claim that Earth will be ravaged by a series of cataclysmic astronomical events – everything from a Planet Nibiru flyby to a “killer” solar flare to a geomagnetic reversal, ensuring a very, very bad day for all.

The Mayan civilization existed from 250 to 900 A.D. in the current geographical location of southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and parts of Honduras.  Barnhart and other archaeologists studying this fascinating culture have been able to decipher their calendars, but their longest period calendar planted the seeds in the fertile minds of a few conspiracy theorists, doomsayers and guys looking to make a fast buck.

Barnhart debunks the apocryphal claims based on his 20-plus years of study on the Mayan culture. While a student at the University of Texas at Austin, he began studying the Maya as an archaeological intern in the ruins of Copan, Honduras.   After finding numerous small villages, Barnhart discovered the ancient city of Ma’ax Na (Monkey House), a major center of the Classic Maya Period. He mapped over 600 structures at Ma’ax Na between 1995 and 1997 before moving his research focus to Chiapas, Mexico.

Barnhart separates fact from fiction regarding the 2012 Mayan calendar.

He later spearheaded the Palenque Mapping Project, a three-year effort to survey and map the unknown sections of Palenque’s ruins. The resultant map has been celebrated as one of the most detailed and accurate ever made of a Maya ruin.

For more information, contact 279.7669 or jpkelly@NortheastState.edu.

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