Mayan experts gather in Guatemala to denounce predictions of worldwide cataclysm as the end of the Mayan calendar nears.
ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA (JUNE 17, 2012) (REUTERS) - With only five months until the Mayan calendar runs out, top archaeologists from across the world converged on the Guatemalan city of Antigua over the weekend to discuss the end of the ancient cycle and dismiss doomsday theories of the world's demise.
Presenting their latest findings on Maya at a two-day conference, experts said the end of the 5,126-year Mayan cycle will usher in a new era for the ancient civilisation, the beginning of the 14th baktun.
"We reject 100 percent that this is the end of the world - it's the end of a cycle and beginning of the 14th Baktun (Mayan cycle). We are nervous as Guatemalans because we will see December 21, the end of an era for many Mayans who have spent many years here and now after 3,114 years," said archaeologist Rosendo Morales.
The end of the ancient calendar later this year has long given rise to theories and speculation about the end of the world. Debunking talk of an apocalypse, experts say 2012 represents a new cycle of renovation and continuation of time for the Mayan calendar that constantly renews itself and continues.
Archaeologist Richard Hensen said the once-in-a-lifetime event should be celebrated.
"What we will see here is a new era. We are privileged to experiment and enjoy the end of an era that started 3,114 year before Christ, the last day of a system established by the Mayans 3,114 years before Christ. It's rare that we have this opportunity to experience this very important date," he said.
Some experts say for the Maya a new calendar cycle is an opportunity to change and improve parts of our lives.
The Maya were among the great ancient civilisations of Mesoamerica, building cities with elaborate ceremonial centres and soaring stone pyramids from modern day Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
The classic period in Maya civilization, starting around A.D. 300, pre-dated by hundreds of years the rise of the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas in Peru. The civilisation collapsed around 900 A.D.