In the past year, the Maya have been on the news because the Mayan Long Count Calendar will reach the end of a cycle. Sensationalist news linked this end of cycle to a prophecy that warns us about the eminent end of the world, on 21st December 2012. However, most people don’t really know who the current Maya are. Many even think that the Maya are extinct. Few seem to know that the Maya are the largest living group of Native Americans, with 6-7 million members dispersed across what is now Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize.
Few people know that the surviving Maya have been burdened by more than 500 years of oppression and exploitation of their political, moral, educational, social and economic systems. Civil war, globalization, economic change, migration, rural impoverishment and the abandonment of traditional practices, have been modifying the lifestyle of the Mayas, not always for the better.
There have been recent TV programmes about the Maya, disturbing films and many books that are making the most alarming claims. The last one is a prediction that something very significant will happen on the 21st December, 2012! However, the modern Maya do not seem to be excited by this prediction, probably because they have other things to worry about.
This is a short introduction to a multi-media, science inspired exhibition and presentation about the descendants of the ancient Maya civilisation taking place shortly at Loughborough University, here in the UK, between 22nd and 30th October.
More details can be found here
and you can find more information about the Maya Project here