December 21, 2012. This date, identified by the Maya nearly 1,400 years ago, has in recent years become the source of great curiosity and debate. Some believe it will bring catastrophic events. Others, an era of enlightenment.
But what did the ancient Maya themselves believe? In 2012: THE BEGINNING, we travel the world to examine what the Sacred Maya texts really say.
At the ruins of Copán, Honduras, we go where few individuals and even fewer cameras have gone: 20 meters underground, to the spectacularly preserved, 1,600-year-old Margarita Temple. In Dresden, Germany, we slip through a golden, hieroglyph-covered door and enter a darkened room containing some of the world’s most significant books from four millennia—including the famed Dresden Codex, one of only three remaining authenticated manuscripts of the ancient Maya, and the earliest known book from the Americas. In Guatemala, the veil is lifted from the mysterious world of Maya shamanism. And in México, we examine the little-seen Tortuguero Monument 6, the only known inscription citing this much-storied date. What will we learn about the lost world of an ancient civilization? About the future of our own?
Throughout, our journey is guided by noted archaeologists, scholars, and the living Maya, who take us into the field—to the very origins of the Maya Long Count Calendar—and into their lives and sacred ceremonies. Together, these people from very different worlds shed light on a date that has long been shrouded in mystery and intrigue.
Featuring: John Major Jenkins; Geoff Stray; Tata José Soc Chivalán; Lina Barrios; Robert Sitler, PhD; Tata Pedro Cruz García; Edwin Barnhart, PhD; Michael J. Grofe, PhD; Barbara MacLeod, PhD; AumRak; David W. Sedat, PhD; Ac Tah; the Maya of Honduras, Guatemala, and México