Maya 2012: Lords of Time. What do you Believe?

 Kim Jovinelli
Fig 1. Mayan Calander
Superstition: An irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, especially in connection with religion[1]. For many of us, we live day to day with superstitions, whether or not we are aware of them. In some way, shape, or form, these nuggets of misconception have wormed their way into our psyche and stayed dormant or, for some, overly active.
For the sake of furthering the next set of information, I will briefly discuss the nature of a recent superstition that has been gaining speed this year – that is, the 2012 Prophesy. On December 21, 2012, the Mayan calendar will complete its cycle. Many believe several possibilities could occur when the cycle is completed. One, the world as we know it will come to an end[2]; Two, it is the beginning of a new age of mankind where knowledge and understanding will be the norm[3]; and three, the planets will align causing a polar shift with cataclysmic results[4].
Fig 2. Photo taken by Kim Jovinelli
In May of 2012, The Penn Museum opened its current blockbuster exhibition, Maya 2012: Lords of Time. The idea behind this, other than the timing, is to dispel the 2012 superstitions and prophecies while shedding light on the inner workings of the calendar and the modern day Mayan people. The exhibit begins by showing some pop culture references, then moving on to the information inherent within the calendar, than onto the modern day information of the Mayans living and thriving in Honduras.
As a patron of the exhibit, Maya 2012, I had a great experience with the collection. Unfortunately, the exhibit itself is NOT collection heavy with regards to artifacts; it does provide the visitor with a collection of knowledge gathered from archaeological dig sites in Copan, Anthropologists studying Mayan culture, modern day Mayans, and historians. The only issue I had while viewing the exhibit, which may be a bias concerning my background in Archaeology, was the amount of replicas on view. I felt there were more by way of reproductions then actual artifacts.
All in all, as a former superstitious believer in the 2012 prophesy, I believe that the Maya 2012: Lords of Timecollection at the Penn Museum provides insight to what is essentially an ancient PR stunt (even though the Maya did NOT intend it to be so).  The average visitor will leave the exhibit with a new understanding of the calendar while still being amazed at just what this culture has, and is still, achieving. What do you believe?