Maya people 'did not predict world to end in 2012'

The Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza in Mexico The Mayan civilisation developed a complex system of calendars

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The calendar used by the ancient Maya civilisation does not predict the end of the world in December 2012 as some believe, according to experts.

A new reading of a Maya tablet mentioning the 2012 date suggests that it refers to the end of an era in the calendar, and not an apocalypse.

The date was "a reflection of the day of creation", Mayan codes researcher Sven Gronemeyer told AP.

The day also marked the return of a Maya god, Mr Gronemeyer added.

Bolon Yokte, the god of creation and war, was expected to return, according to Mr Gronemeyer's reading of a Mayan text carved into stone 1,300 years ago.

The date marks the end of one of the periods of roughly 400 years into which the Mayan calendar is divided.

Mexico's National Institute for Anthropological History has also tried to counter speculation that the Maya predicted a catastrophic event for 2012.

Only two out of 15,000 registered Mayan texts mention the date 2012, according to the Institute, and no Mayan text predicts the end of the world.

"There is no prophecy for 2012. It is a marketing fallacy," Erik Velasquez, etchings specialist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told Reuters.

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