What the Sacred Maya Texts Really Say

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 believed it would 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 the Highlands of 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 will be guided by noted archaeologists, scholars, and the living Maya, who will 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 will shed light on a date that has long been shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

In sharp contrast to the sensational documentaries on this highly charged topic, 2012: The Beginning takes a “travel exploration” approach. We join archaeologists and scholars in the field—where theories about this significant date are born—and present-day Maya in their homes and villages to capture the unique perspectives of those who have lived by the various Maya calendars for generations. All exploration in the field is shot hand-held, with natural light, to capture the raw beauty, mysticism, and energy of an archaeologist making a key discovery.
In going straight to the source, to the very origins of the Maya Long Count Calendar, we, without agenda and with great reverence, paint a comprehensive yet easy-to-understand picture through which the viewing audience can form their own beliefs. This is the first production to feature Tortuguero Monument 6, the Dresden Codex, and the Margarita Temple—all little-seen images sure to captivate the imaginations and interest of those who ask themselves, “What, if anything, will happen on December 21, 2012?”

Category: History

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