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Movie has 2012 wrong, says Canadian archaeologist

November 19, 2009 |  9:59 am

Kenneth Turan reviews "2012," the latest disaster movie portraying the end of the world. The movie is directed by Roland Emmerich, who seems to be stuck on the same theme, after movies like "The Day After Tomorrow" and "Independence Day."

"2012" is based on a premise apparently laid out in an ancient carved monument found in the Mayan region, which covers the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and parts of Central America. The region has been home to the indigenous Maya people since 900 BC.

But Canadian archaeologist Kathryn Reese-Taylor, who teaches at the University of Calgary, says in a statement that although the monument, called the Tortuguero Monument Six, refers to the date Dec. 21, 2012, it is not an end-of-the-world prophecy. She says the translation of the text essentially says that something will occur on Dec. 21, 2012 and that it will be similar to something that occurred on another date in the past.

"We don’t know what that past occurrence was or what the future occurrence will be. At no point do any of the Maya texts actually prophesize the end of the world," she said. Reese-Taylor says that the prophecy has never meant the end of the world among the Maya people and that it is North Americans who have created this interpretation.

“The idea of a Maya prophecy emerged in the 1970s when North American journalists and writers began to cherry-pick ideas from the Maya, Aztec and Hopi cultures and created what they now call the Maya prophecy.”

Looks like Hollywood's creative license is at work again.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City