The Lodge at Chaa Creek hosted renowned Mayanist Dr Mark Van Stone, author of the recently released book, 2012 – Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya January 10 as the Belizean eco resort kicks off its 2012 year-long series of Maya presentations, special tours and events.
Lucy Fleming, who with her husband Mick owns and operates Chaa Creek, has been living in the Maya heartland for over three decades and said she is looking forward to the opportunity to join other locals as well as Mayanists, scholars and archaeologists in setting the Maya record straight.
“On one hand, it has been refreshing to see Belize’s millennia-long Maya history and culture getting the attention it deserves, but on the other hand, it can be extremely frustrating to hear some of the absolute nonsense proliferating throughout the media and web about the Maya and their so-called predictions surrounding 2012,” she said.
Dr Van Stone has in past interviews dismissed the notions of the end of the Maya Long Count calendar and an impending apocalypse as “fantasies”.
“Instead of talking about destruction, instead of talking about renewal, or fantasies – which is what most of the 2012 stuff is – somebody’s fantasies, I thought this is a chance to divert a little attention on to the real Maya culture… first trying to find out what the Maya actually said about 2012 and how diverse a culture they really were,” he said in regards to his interest in 2012.
Prof Van Stone obtained a degree in physics and worked in the University of New Hampshire’s gamma ray astronomy laboratory before switching careers as a calligrapher and carver, becoming an expert in palaeography and the evolution of writing forms, before focusing on ancient Maya glyphs and co-authoring a book with Michael Coe, one of the world’s leading Maya archaeologists. Dr Van Stone is currently Professor of Art History at Southwestern College in California.
“It’s a great experience to hear someone like Dr Van Stone give clear cut, rational presentations amidst the ancient pyramids in the Heartland of the Maya. Like many of us, he shows that you can be very passionate about the Maya and appreciate what an amazing, advanced civilisation it was while sticking to the facts. As we keep saying, the reality of the ancient Maya civilisation is far more incredible than even the most far-fetched fiction,” Ms Fleming said.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek sits within a 365 acre private nature reserve in the rainforests of western Belize between the ancient metropolises of Caracol and Tikal. The eco resort houses the highly regarded Chaa Creek Natural History Centre and miles of trail networks connecting some 70 Maya archaeological sites and the ancient Maya temple of Tunichilen.
And as to what really will happen on the December 21 Winter Solstice of 2012?
“I frankly think that we’re going to wake up on December 22nd 2012, and it’s going to be very much like December 21st 2012, (and) like December 20th 2012… not much will have changed,” Dr Van Stone said.