The world is not going to come to an end on December 21st of 2012.
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Colombian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period (c. 2000 BC to AD 250), according to the Mesoamerican chronology, many Maya cities reached their highest state of development during the Classic period (c. AD 250 to 900), and continued throughout the Post-Classic period until the arrival of the Spanish.
The Maya civilization shares many features with other Mesoamerican civilizations due to the high degree of interaction and cultural diffusion that characterized the region. Advances such as writing, epigraphy, and the calendar did not originate with the Maya; however, their civilization fully developed them. Maya influence can be detected from Honduras, Guatemala and western El Salvador to as far away as central Mexico, more than 1,000 km (620 mi) from the Maya area. Many outside influences are found in Maya art and architecture, which are thought to result from trade and cultural exchange rather than direct external conquest.
While many ancient alien theorists believe the Mayans had contact with traveler’s from other worldly places, the skeptics continue to down-play this notion.
The Maya peoples never disappeared, neither at the time of the Classic period decline nor with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and the subsequent Spanish colonization of the Americas. Today, the Maya and their descendants form sizable populations throughout the Maya area and maintain a distinctive set of traditions and beliefs that are the result of the merger of pre-Columbian and post-Conquest ideas and cultures. Millions of people speak Mayan languages today; the Rabinal Achi, a play written in the Achi language, was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.
There is some dispute about when this era of Maya civilization began. Discoveries of Maya occupation at Cuello, Belize have been carbon dated to around 2600 BC. This level of occupation included monumental structures. The Maya calendar, which is based around the so-called Mesoamerica Long Count Calendar, begins on a date equivalent to the 11th of August around 3114 BC. However the most widely accepted view, as of 2010, is that the first clearly Maya settlements were established around 1800 BC in the Soconusco region of the Pacific Coast. This period, known as the Early Pre-classic, was characterized by sedentary communities and the introduction of pottery and fired clay figurines.
The Maya centers of the southern lowlands went into decline during the 8th and 9th centuries and were abandoned shortly thereafter. This decline was coupled with a cessation of monumental inscriptions and large-scale architectural construction. There is no universally accepted theory to explain this collapse. Non-ecological theories of Maya decline are divided into several subcategories, such as overpopulation, foreign invasion, peasant revolt, and the collapse of key trade routes. Ecological hypotheses include environmental disaster, epidemic disease, and climate change. There is evidence that the Maya population exceeded the carrying capacity of the environment including exhaustion of agricultural potential and over-hunting of mega fauna. Some scholars have recently theorized that an intense 200 year drought led to the collapse of Maya civilization. The drought theory originated from research performed by physical scientists studying lake beds, ancient pollen, and other data, not from the archaeological community. Newer research from 2011, with use of high-resolution climate models and new reconstructions of past landscapes, suggests that converting much of their forest land into cropland may have led to reduced evapotranspiration and thus rainfall, magnifying natural drought. A study published in science in 2012 found that modest rainfall reductions, amounting to only 25 to 40 percent in annual rainfall, may have been the tipping point to the Maya collapse. Based on samples of lake and cave sediments in the areas surrounding major Maya cities, the researchers were able to determine the amount of annual rainfall in the region. The mild droughts that took place between AD 800-950 were enough to rapidly reduce open water availability.
The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on 21 December 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none have been accepted by mainstream scholarship.
A New Age interpretation of this transition is that this date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era. Others suggest that the 2012 date marks the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Scenarios suggested for the end of the world include the arrival of the next solar maximum, or Earth's collision with an object such as a black hole, a passing asteroid or a planet called “Nibiru” (or Planet X).
*More about planet X later*
Scholars from various disciplines have dismissed the idea of such cataclysmic events occurring in 2012. Professional Mayanist scholars state that predictions of impending doom are not found in any of the extant classic Mayan accounts, and that the idea that the Long Count calendar “ends” in 2012 misrepresents Maya history and culture. Astronomers and other scientists have rejected the proposals as pseudoscience, stating that they conflict with simple astronomical observations and amount to “a distraction from more important science concerns, such as global warming and loss of biological diversity”.
I think the most interesting (if not confounding) about the Mayans (and early Egyptians) is their knowledge of the existence of the Sirius B star and its orbital dynamics. Modern society did not discover this until 1862. Ancient astronaut theorists believe they know why.
Sirius B was the first white dwarf star discovered and is invisible to the naked eye. It packs almost the entire mass of our sun into a globe only 4 times as large as the Earth. Sirius B's surface is 300 times harder than diamonds, while its interior has a density 3,000 times that of diamonds. Spinning on its axis about 23 times a minute, it generates huge magnetic fields around it.
Still, there are conflictions about whether or not the Mayans had some kind of contact with extraterrestrials. Artifacts newly discovered on or near Mayan cities (and withheld by the Mexican government for nearly 80 years) display some very interesting pictures carved onto rocks. In this short educational film by Jason Kirby, the evidence is overwhelming that yes, they did indeed have some kind of connection with visitors from out of this world.
Contributing Sources: Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_civilization
This work is released under CC 3.0 BY-SA - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/