As anthropologist Joe Awe explained to the guests who attended the unveiling ceremony held at Chaa Creek, the ancient Maya used the carved stone monuments to record important dates and events in their various city-states spread across the vast Maya empire, which covered all of Belize and parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Ms Fleming said that people from around the world have been converging at the Belizean eco resort for days of educational workshops and hands-on training in Maya skills such as tortilla and chocolate making, thatching with jungle palm fronds and the use of medicinal plants in preparation for the grand ceremonies that will take place on the evening of December 21 2012.
The Maya Empire, centered in the tropical lowlands of what is now Guatemala, reached the peak of its power and influence around the sixth century A.D. The Maya excelled at agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making and mathematics, and left behind an astonishing amount of impressive architecture and symbolic artwork. Most of the great stone cities of the Maya were abandoned by A.D. 900, however, and since the 19th century scholars have debated what might have caused this dramatic decline.
One of history’s most famous and foreboding doomsday predictions might never have been made, according to a German researcher. His new interpretation of a 1,300-year-old tablet affirms that the ancient Maya regarded December 21, 2012, as a moment of great importance—but not, as some believe, because they foresaw an apocalypse on that date.