Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient Mayan mural believed to be a calendar projecting events some 7,000 years into the future – thus contradicting doomsday warnings predicting the end of the world this December.
The excavation took place in the Guatemalan forest on the outskirts of Xultún and saw the mural revealed on the walls of an ancient house.
Featuring colourful portraits of the king, the wall also contains complex mathematical calculations, believed to be calendar and astronomy predictions with a 2.5million day timespan.
Excavation leader William Saturno told National Geographic News: “It’s important to understand that the ancient Maya predicted the world would continue. That was their point. They didn’t predict the end of the world.
"There would be cycles, new beginnings—but never endings. That’s what’s going on in this room. The numbers on the walls are calculations of when the same cosmic events would happen in the future.
"The Maya were looking for a guarantee that nothing would change. We keep looking for endings. It’s an entirely different mind-set."
One interpretation of the Mayan prophecy has stated the world will come to a sudden, cataclysmic end in 2012, with media, internet forums, Hollywood and pop culture perpetuating the belief.
Not everyone has been so sure, however. Last year, Sven Gronemeyer of Australia's La Trobe University said that his interpretation of certain hieroglyphs indicate that though 21 December 2012 is an important date for the ancient Mayan people, it won't necessarily be apocalyptic.
"The date acquired a symbolic value because it is seen as a reflection of the day of creation," Gronemeyer said whilst at an archaeological site in Palenque, Mexico. "It is the passage of a god and not necessarily a great leap for humanity."
His research shows that 21/12/2012 heralds the arrival of the Mayan god of creation and war, Bolon Yokte, 5,125 years after Mayan Long Count calendar began back in 3113 B.C.
His reappearance on earth is meant to indicate a new era on the planet, but not a destructive one.
Clear as mud, then.