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Anonymous Coward
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02/04/2011 05:50 AM
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The so-called “end of the world” – scheduled for the winter solstice of 2012 by cer-tain groups of people – is moving rapidly into public focus. The topic receives ever more publicity in the media; Hollywood has even jumped in with Roland Emmerich’s disaster film “2012”. There is a burgeoning fascination with this event in the litera-ture and on the internet – most of it arising outside the scientifically-based field of pre-Columbian studies, instead approaching the topic from an esoteric or New Age point of view. In 2006, Robert Sitler examined the esoteric side of the “2012 Phe-nomenon” and its (pseudo)-religious impact (Sitler 2006), so we will not put further attention on this aspect of the date. But since it is inevitable that our conclusions will find their way into the apocalyptic current, we hope they will not be excessively mis-construed.
Apart from the influential prophecies for the K’atun 4 Ajaw in the Chilam Balam of Tizimín (MS pp. 19-20, Edmonson 1982: 168-171) and other sources, the main and most cited source for this “millennial current” (Sitler 2006: 33) in the popular percep-tion is the right panel of Tortuguero Monument 6 (Gronemeyer 2006: 157-161, pl. 12, Figure 1).
Several scholars have previously contributed to our understanding of the inscriptions of TRT Mon. 6 (Riese 1978, 1980: 10-16, Arellano Hernández 2006: 100-111)1, in-cluding specific focus on the phrase involving the Bak’tun ending of (Eberl & Prager 2005: 32, Gronemeyer 2006: 45, Arellano Hernández 2006: 107, fig. 55, Houston 2008, Van Stone 2009, 2010).

This will occur on the 21st of December, 2012, according to the (584.283) GMT correlation. The most recent and complete study of the Tortuguero corpus has been conducted by Sven Gronemeyer (2004, 2006). It has become clear that new information from the passage dealing with the Bak’tun ending (blocks O2-P5) can be retrieved which was not considered in previous analyses.

More importantly, fruitful discussions with fellow epigraphers and Maya scholars dur-ing 2009 and 2010 have enabled us to narrow down what events may be related to the period ending. This paper will offer the substance of these discussions and provide new options for the understanding of this text.

The first part of this endeavour will provide an epigraphic and grammatical analysis of the right panel of TRT Mon. 6. A following synopsis will offer a comprehensive dis-cussion and a glimpse of what the Maya of seventh-century Tortuguero expected to happen on the occasion of the 13th Bak’tun ending.

The decision to commit these new data on Monument 6 to publication was that of Sven Gronemeyer. Drawing upon his extensive research on Tortuguero, he has pro-vided in large measure the background data on the site, its hieroglyphic texts, and its external political affiliations. He wrote a lengthy first draft with all the initial epi-graphic and grammatical identifications as well as pertinent ethnographic material. Barbara MacLeod, via the 2009 and 2010 group discussions and her subsequent con-tributions, offers the final grammatical analyses, an overview of the entire Monument 6 text, and some new hieroglyph readings – both hers and others’. She also edited and proofread the manuscript prior to submission. As co-authors, we generally do not distinguish between individual positions throughout the article unless a distinc-tion is necessary for argument’s sake.

Before we begin our analysis, some introductory remarks are in order so that we may embed the discussion about the Bak’tun ending in a greater context. The basics of calendrical mechanics and the Mayas’ reckoning of time are a necessary prerequi-site to any testimony regarding “what will not happen in 2012” (Houston 2008).

The Calendrical Framework

continuous reckoning of days from a certain zero point forward (Morley 1915: 60). Arithmetically it is, 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u (11th Aug 3114 BC). This day is known as the beginning of the current creation (cf. Schele 1992). In Classic inscriptions, however, the Long Count for this event never appeared in its mathematically “cor-rect” form with zero coefficients for the period denominators. On QRG St. C, A1-A5, we have the Long Count noted as Even when the Classic Maya recorded the creation date with period bases not less than the Bak’tun, these are noted not with the coefficient zero, but with 13. On COB St. 1, M1-M13 we thus have the huge notation of​.0.0.0. On p. 52 of the Dresden Codex (Carl Callaway, w.c., 21st Apr 2010) we also find an era date (thirteen times a coefficient 13).

As the Calendar Round proves in all cases, it is nevertheless the same 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u date. These kinds of notations are not an arithmetical date, but are rather symbolic and heavenly, as the number 13 suggests. There is another reason why the coefficient 13 was employed, as will be explained below. The enumeration of all these (theoretically infinite) period bases above the regular five-digit Long Count was a means to convey the extensiveness of time. Even historical dates utilise this kind of notation, as on YAX HS. 2 Step VII, I1-P2, where we have, 3 Muluk 17 Mak, or simply It seems that this notation was only conventionalised during the Late Classic. A differ-ent system is visible on TIK St. 10, A7-B13 with, dating to January 506.

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Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/04/2011 06:59 AM
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more on tortuguero


Before 2006, many anthropologists, archaeologists and other Maya scholars stated that there was nothing in the Maya inscriptions about the end of the current 5,125-year era of the Long Count calendar. They often did this as part of a dismissal of the increasing discussion about 2012. But in April 2006, epigrapher Dave Stuart answered an enquiry on a specialist discussion group announcing that there is one known inscription from the Classic era that mentions the end of the thirteenth baktun. [1] It is on Monument 6 from a little-known site called Tortuguero, in the state of Tabasco in Mexico. Many maps don't even show the site, or vary in their positioning of it.

Tortuguero was discovered in the 1915, but in 1978 and 1980, Prof. Dr Berthold Riese published studies on the inscriptions found there. The papers are in German. Since then, very little emerged until Sven Gronemeyer's master thesis of 2004 - also in German. [2], [3] An updated version was published in English in 2006. [4] A cement factory was built on top of the site in 1981, but a few ruins remain.


Tortuguero's most famous artefact is the Tortuguero Box - a well-preserved carved wooden box inscribed with glyphs that describe, amongst other things, the burial of the Tortuguero ruler, Bahlam Ajaw (Lord Jaguar). Monument 6 is broken into seven parts, four of which are in the Villahermosa museum, not far from the Tortuguero site. Another part is in the Metropolitan Museum of New York, and two other fragments are thought to be in the hands of a private collector. The monument was originally a T-shaped stela, and one of the wings - the left one that starts the narrative - is missing. It is the other wing - the final part of the narrative - that refers to the end of the thirteenth baktun.

Gronemeyer has split the translation of the monument into six sections. The first section concerns the birth and enthronement of Bahlam Ajaw; the second section concerns "star wars" (wars that were timed by the first appearance of Venus as evening or morning star), and decapitation of prisoners; the third section describes the war against a neighbouring town - Comalcalco and the consequent "harvest of white-flower souls". The fourth section describes unknown events, since some of the glyphs are damaged. The fifth section describes the ritual burning of a house, the setting up of images of Bahlam Ajaw, and a ruler-binding ritual.

This is the context of the final section that commences three glyphs before the right hand side wing and continues through the wing. I have rendered Gronemeyer's translation of this section into English:

7 days 7 Uinals 0 Tuns and 8 Katuns, previously it happened. On 8 Chuen 9 Mak, it was completed for re-birthing*, the pibnaah of Ahkal K'uk. It was 2 days, 9 Uinals, 3 Tuns, 8 Katuns and 3 Baktuns before the 13th Baktun is completed on 4 Ahau 3 Kankin. Then it will happen - darkness, and Bolon-Yokte will descend to the (???)

*nascent becoming

The monument was set up in 669 AD to commemorate a building known as a pibnaah that was built around 160 years earlier in 510 AD. A pibnaah is often translated as a steam bath or sweathouse and this is how Gronemeyer has translated it. The construction of the pibnaah is directly forward-referenced to the end of the 13-baktun era in 2012 with its predicted event - darkness accompanied by the descent of the god Bolon-Yokte, but the prophecy cannot be completed due to damage to the glyphs.

The first question this prompts is, "Who is Bolon-Yokte?" [5] Bolon Yokte is the God of Nine Strides, (or the God of Numerous Strides, since Bolon, which means "nine" is often used as "many"). Sometimes referred to as B'olon Yookte' K'u, or B'olon Okte' K'uh, where K'uh means deity, he has also been called Ah Bolon Yocte of Nine Paths in the post-conquest books of Chilam Balam. The god has an association with the underworld, conflict and war, [6] dangerous transition times, social unrest, eclipses and natural disasters like Earthquakes. He appears at the end of baktuns, assisted at the Creation of the current world and will be present at the next Creation in 2012. Other translations of the name are God of Nine Steps; the Nine-Footed God; and Jaguar-Foot-Tree, because the word bolon or balan (nine) was used by the Maya as a pun for balam (jaguar). The god was seen alternatively as nine individuals or as a collective god.


There are at least 2 examples of a steamhouse-pibnaah at Chichen Itza. Steamhouses are still used by the Maya today and are called "tuj", or sometimes "chitin", or "kun" (oven). The Aztecs also used a steambath called a temazcal - in Mexican package holidays, a spell in a temazcal is often included. They were used for ritual purification ceremonies, healing, revitalization, cleansing, and general meetings. It is known today that they are very beneficial to the health. They flush toxic metals from the system a hundred times faster than the kidneys; they open clogged pores, removing excess salts; they eliminate uric and lactic acid; they increase blood flow, unclog the respiratory tract, and increase negative ions.

Although today's temazcals are above ground, they, and the pibnaahs at Chichen Itza were usually dug five feet into the ground and used a direct fire rather than hot rocks, similar to the method used by Native Americans in California. The design and alignment was similar to that of a Hopi kiva, or underground ceremonial room. Though today's kivas are often above ground and square, the ancient Anasazi, (ancestors of the Hopi) examples are round and mostly below ground. According to Frank Waters's Book of the Hopi, many Hopi regard Aztecs and Maya as "renegade Hopi clans" that did not finish their migrations, so we may have here an insight into the pibnaah.

Native American sweat lodges, as well as kivas are seen as symbolic wombs of the Earth Mother, and not only do the Hopi conduct Creation myth re-enactment ceremonies in kivas, but some tribes design sweat lodges to reflect Creation myths. Not only are Temazcals used for pregnancy and birth, but those who have used them ritually, describe feeling their spirit bodies, acknowledging the four elements, and experiencing the "rebirth and death of parts of the ego that no longer serve growth."

Amazingly, there is an association between kivas and the number nine - perhaps a remnant of the Bolon Yokte connection, upon which we are seeking to throw light. Every year there are nine major ceremonies traditionally performed in the kiva. They correspond to the nine universes of the Hopi Creation myth. There is one universe for the Creator, Taiowa, one for his nephew, Sótuknang, and seven for created life. The Hopi say there are a total of seven Worlds, or eras, and that each one is governed by a psychic centre - the same as the top five chakras of the Hindu system. We are in the Fourth World, known as "World Complete". Our consciousness descended from the crown chakra in the first era down as far as the solar plexus in the current era - each era becoming more materialistic than the last - but at the next World era transition, it will start to reverse direction. Each transition is called an Emergence, and symbolised by a labyrinth symbol - identical the Cretan labyrinth symbol. It is also known as the Mother Earth symbol, or Mother and Child, and the process is seen as a kind of birth process.

There are also said to be nine prophecies that will be fulfilled before the Day of Purification that precedes the Emergence. These are the coming of the white man; covered wagons; longhorn cattle; railroad tracks; power lines & telephone lines; concrete roads; oil spills; the coming of the hippies; the Blue Star kachina. Only the last of these nine remains to be fulfilled. When a blue star is seen in the sky, and the Blue Star kachina dancer removes his mask in the plaza, then the Hopi ceremonies will cease. Though some have said this was Comet Holmes, the fact is that the Hopi ceremonies were still continuing after Comet Holmes came and went (according to eye-witness report of a personal friend).

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12/21/2012 10:55 PM
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