The Center for 2012 Studies is a think-tank dedicated to investigating how the ancient Maya conceived and thought about the 13-Bak'tun period ending of December 21, 2012. Evidence from a variety of disciplines will be assessed. Opinions and statements of scholars and investigators will be discussed. Links to pertinent academic resources will be provided.
The Center for 2012 Studies is not a place for addressing the wide spectrum of pop culture manifestations in the "2012 phenomenon" or the mass media's distortion and abuse of Maya tradition. There are other places where that has been and can be pursued. Here, we want to provide a clear space for investigating the origins of the Long Count system and the evidence that 2012 was an intentional artifact of the ancient Maya's calendrical cosmology.
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The Great Return Conference in Copan:
Trip Report: "The 13th Baktun Completion." January 6, 2013
(My Baktun-ending trip to Mexico, Guatemala, and Copan in Honduras, December 14 - 30, 2012)
Essays (PDF format):
"Astronomy in the Tortuguero Inscriptions." John Major Jenkins. Paper presented at the 75th meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (www.saa.org). St Louis, April 15, 2010. See the Abstract on page 130 of this SAA publication: http://saa.org/Portals/0/SAA/Meetings/Individual%20Abstracts.pdf.
"The Maya Exploration Center Facebook Discussion on the Astronomy of 2012 and Tortuguero Monument 6." A critique and discussion of my SAA paper (linked above), sponsored by the Maya Exploration Center and hosted on Facebook in November-December 2010. Compiled by John Major Jenkins, January 2011. 212 pages. Contributors include Barb MacLeod, Michael Grofe, Carlos Barrera Atuesta, Ed Barnhart, Stanley Guenter, Robert Sitler, John Major Jenkins, Geoff Stray, Miguel Sague, and Gerardo Aldana.
"Photographic Clarification of Lord Jaguars Birthday and the P4 Glyph on Tortuguero Monument 6." John Major Jenkins. June 16, 2011. The results of a visit to the Carlos Pellicer Museum on March 28, 2011 to examine Tortuguero Monument 6. Includes new photographs by the author.
"The Birth-Sacrifice Monument." John Major Jenkins. Posted online July 8, 2011.
An examination of the iconography and setting of a previously undocumented large carved boulder near the pre-Classic site of Izapa in southern Chiapas. Explores its relationships with Maya Creation Myth and symbolism at nearby Izapa. Includes photos of two additional undocumented carved boulders.
Email exchange with Dr Ed Barnhart, July 2010. This email exchange with the Director of the Maya Exploration Center resulted from my SAA presentation in April, 2010 (linked above). It led to the Maya Exploration Center Facebook Discussion in November-December, 2010 (also linked above).
"Review-Essay of Dennis Tedlocks Book 2000 Years of Mayan Literature (2010)." April 10, 2010. Some have criticized Tedlock's re-languaging of the names of Maya sites, deities, and temples. Unfortunately, this distracts from his many compelling observations about Maya astronomy and mythology, which I focus on in my review-essay. Namely, Tedlock repeatedly demonstrates that the dark rift in the Milky Way is an important reference point for ritual events. He also alludes, albeit obliquely and incompletely, to the era-2012 alignment. He also elaborates on the 2012 perspective that he and Barbara Tedlock presented at the Tulane "2012" conference in February 2009.
"Dating the Construction of the Izapan Ballcourt, and Corrections on the Study of Astronomy in the Izapan Ballcourt." October 18, 2011. Summary: First, there is no hard evidence that dates the construction of the Izapan ballcourt to the Classic Period or post-Classic Period, as insinuated by the Brigham Young University (BYU) archaeologists who studied the site. Rather, the C-14 dates that were taken from Mound 125a, which "adjoins" the ballcourt, are in fact pre-Classic and Middle pre-Classic. Clarifications of statements made by the BYU archaeologists are provided, and their assumptions about the original function of the ballcourt are questioned. Second, misleading statements and citations that don't check out by one Maya scholar are corrected, regarding the history of the study of astronomy in the Izapan ballcourt. Third, one example of academic omission in citing my earlier published work on Izapan iconography and astronomy is discussed, and corrected.
"A Tripartite Figure from the Izapa Group F Ballcourt." This essay, written in early 2007 and originally titled "Three Mini-Essays on the Trinary Structure of Maya Cosmology," explores the tripartite symbolism of a figure found in the mound at the west end of the Izapa ballcourt. It draws from the work of Susannah Ekholm and offers a composite image of the reconstructed figure. The tripartite symbolism is supportive of the three-level symbolism I have proposed for Izapa (Jenkins 1998), which is identifiable in the geographical layout around the site (ocean, land, sky), as well as in the three main monument groups (A, B, and F) with their respective "cosmic centers" and associated deities. Two additional notes in this essay explore a tripartite clan structure in Highland Maya society and the three-level ritual symbolism of metates and thrones.
"The Comalcalco '2012' Date - an Academic / Media Rerun." A response to the AP piece of November 2011 in which a purported "discovery" of a second 2012 date is announced by INAH in Mexico. This piece is designed to concisely address and clarify the background to this story, which is actually a rerun of earlier events. November 29, 2011.
"Toward Reconstructing the Ixil/Quiché Venus Calendar." (Or: How the Dresden Codex Venus Calendar placement (November 18th, 934 A.D. = 1 Ahau 18 Kayab) evolved into one possibly used by the Highland Maya of Guatemala.) Here's one from the archives, folks! Written in 1992, this essay explores an adjustment mechanism to the predictive Venus Round system evident in th Drtesden Codex a possible and putative one-time shift around 1246 AD among one or more Maya groups in Highland Guatemala, achieving: 1) a corrective recalibration of the predictive system with actual Venus risings, and 2) a coordination of the Venus Round beginning date with the Calednar Round beginning date. This essay is also revealing of my knowledge-base and the level of work I was doing twenty years ago, when I declined to pursue a course of Guaranteed Student Debt by attending the University of Colorado at Boulder (where I had been accepted as a 27-year-old non-traditional student). I do not regret that decision. May 1992.
"A Reassessment of Date Ambiguities on Tortuguero Monument 2." March 2, 2012. Deciphering dates in Maya inscriptions often requires accepting "scribal errors." The previously proposed date decipherment for Tortuguero Monument 2 requires one, but additional data in the text suggests that another date is indicated, one that points us to Lord Jaguar's birthday in 612 AD. Further examination of Monument 2 in the Carlos Pellicer Museum may resolve the issue.
"Further Investigations on Tortuguero Monument 2." March 5, 2012. Given the ambiguous data that can result in several possible date interpretations, attention goes to a way to possibly resolve the ambiguity. The roughly drawn glyphs on the dorsal side are explored here, and a suggestion is made for a field trip to the Carlos Pellicer Museum to try, for the first time in decades, to make a clear assessment of those glyphs. If a DN or some positional data can be rescued, we may be able to clarify the date on the ventral side.
***A revealing discussion and debate on the two essays above can be found here***
"Sun and Moon at the Cosmic Crossroads in an Inscription from Palenque Temple XIX." March 22, 2012. The inscription on the stucco pier in Palenque Temple XIX contains three dates. Examining the astronomy reveals that the reason why a 5-Tun interval is used probably involves a lunar sidereal-cycle interval. Furthermore, the astronomy associated with the dates indicts the Crossroads of the Milky Way and the ecliptic and the sun's alignment with the Sagittarian Crossroads on 188.8.131.52.0. Additional 5-Tun dates from Tonina are examined that involve the changing declination of the moon as it sweeps by the Pleiades, occasionally occulting the Pleiades (and actually doing so in one date example) and thereby suggesting a methodology by which the ancient Maya may have tracked, or checked for, eclipses. Astronomy charts are provided.
"18 Rabbit's Sacrifice, Bolon Yokte', and the Associated Astronomy." In my examination of the three dates from the Palenque Temple XIX stucco pier (see the essay above), I identified a previously unrecognized lunar sidereal cycle. In consideration of Grofe's recent work on eclipses and Bolon Yokte', this led me to looking at related lunar phenomenon such as eclipses, and I subsequently found an eclipse near the May 12, 709 AD date. Pursuing this further, I found a 65-year eclipse pattern that places total lunar eclipses at the dark rift / Crossroads on eclipses visible over Mesoamerica between (at least) 514 AD and 774 AD. April 5, 2012.
"The Astronomy of the 2012 Text from Block V, La Corona." June 29, 2012. The existence of a second 2012 date reference was annouced by the La Corona Archaeological Project on June 28, 2012. The use of the 2012 date was described merely as a "literary device." This essay explores what kind of literary device it is, drawing from the precedent of the Tortuguero Monument 6 "2012" text.
"A Step-by-Step Guide to the 2012 Inscription from La Corona." July 5, 2012. A detailed follow-up to the previous preliminary analysis, with charts. It includes my censored post to the project epigrapher's Maya Decipherment blog, in which I attempted to discuss astronomy as an interpretive aid to hieroglyphic decipherment. This essay demonstrates that astronomy is relevant to understanding why the Calakmul king Yuknoom Yich'aak K'ahk' referenced 2012 in the La Corona inscription.
"How to Assess and Understand a Maya Hieroglyphic Inscription." July 8, 2012. This essay takes a look at another hieroglyphic inscription that illuminates how Yuknoom Yich'aak K'ahk' desired to frame his royal identity by showing astronomical relations of his birthday. The rhetorical strategy he employed was astronomically based, and this is congruent with what Lord Jaguar did on Tortuguero Monument 6. Yuknoom's ideological association with the "Venus cycle / Quetzalcoatl mythology" is here linked to his birthday as well as a solstice date, suggesting an analogy to the Maize God's solstice-time rebirth. These concepts map nicely on to his asserted connection to the 2012 solstice period-ending date through his birthday astronomy and the 184.108.40.206.0 date on Block V.
A previous piece that is relevant to the above three essays is: "Commentary on Stuart and Houston's Study of Maya Place Names." September, 1995. This early essay discusses how Maya hieroglyphs can contain references to astronomy. But this information is easily overlooked by epigraphers using a limited approach who assume that the locations of "mythological placenames" are purely imaginary and do not, or cannot, belong to an astronomical topography. This original essay of 1995 was adapted for publication as Appendix 4 in my 1998 book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012.
"The Maya Calendar Conundrum." November 13, 2012. Here is a brief presentation of an unsolved conundrum, involving math and astronomy. Why does the 13-Baktun cycle have 1,872,000 days? The answer may b stranger than we can conceive.
"A Brief Review of Martin and Skidmore’s New Correlation Proposal (the 584286)". November 19, 2012. Again, a narrow limit set on the allowable data has resulted in yet another correlation proposal. Someday, the importance of the ethnographic evidence, properly understood, may be acknowledged. See: Steps in Understanding Calendar Continuity and in Verifying the Correct Correlation.
"2012 in Retrospect." February 1, 2013. This piece is included here because it puts into perspective my well-documented (and ongoing) research into 2012 that is the focus of The Center for 2012 Studies, in the aftermath of the passing of December 21, 2012. For most writers who wrote on 2012, it is now an expired topic. In comparison, my work to reconstruct how the ancient Maya thought 2012 (which has been my modus operandi for over twenty years) continues without pause as new evidence is identified. As of April 2013, I am preparing two new studies of the astronomy in Maya inscriptions, one on Copan Stela C and one on Palenque Temple XXI.
"Lady K’abel: Planetary Deities in the Womb of the Milky Way Goddess on 220.127.116.11.0." April 22, 2013. This is a brief excerpt from a larger work which shows how the Galactic Center was mythologized by the ancient Maya as the womb of a female deity. This is a proposal I argued with other evidence in the mid-1990s. As new evidence appears, older arguments become more solidly supported.
The Center for 2012 Studies, Occasional Notes
I am collecting many items of research into an Occasional Notes archive. About eighteen of these are relatively short items already completed but never posted or published. As I prepare them as PDFs they will be posted below.
Occasional Notes, No. 1. "The Bolon Yokte Reference on the Copán Hieroglyphic Stairway." John Major Jenkins. May 30, 2010.
Occasional Notes, No. 2. "The Milky Way and Quirigua Zoomorph B." John Major Jenkins. May, 2010.
Occasional Notes, No. 3. "Astronomical Events Leading Up to Bahlam Ajaw’s Accession on February 4, 644 AD." John Major Jenkins. May, 2010.
Occasional Notes, No. 4. "Calendrical Patterns and Tortuguero Monument 1." John Major Jenkins. May, 2010.
Occasional Notes, No. 10. "Evidence that 2012 Represents a New Creation, or Worldrenewal." John Major Jenkins. June 9, 2010.
Occasional Notes, No. 11. "The Sun Binding Ritual on Tortuguero Monument 8." John Major Jenkins. May, 2010.
Occasional Notes, No. 16. "The ‘Ecliptic as Road of Souls’ Theory and the Iconography of Quirigua Zoomorph G." John Major Jenkins. June, 2010.
Occasional Notes, No. 18. "Steps in Understanding Calendar Continuity and in Verifying the Correct Correlation." John Major Jenkins. July 31, 2011. See also: A Brief Review of Martin and Skidmore’s New Correlation Proposal (the 584286).
Occasional Notes, No. 19. "The Third 'Reference' to the 2012 Date." John Major Jenkins. September 17, 2012.
Occasional Notes, No. 20. "Notes on Various Editions of Norton’s Star Atlas and the Galactic Alignment of Era-2012." John Major Jenkins. January 30, 2013.
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