Mat Saunders, creator of the excellent conference series “Maya at the Playa” in Palm Coast, Florida, is launching another archaeology-for-the-masses conference in North Carolina. The debut of this event comes a week from this writing, from 14-17 April 2011.
The lectures and workshops bring first-class Maya scholars and archaeologists into contact with the interested public, in a friendly and informal setting. This is a great opportunity to meet and learn from world-reknowned experts in the Ancient Maya such as National Geographic archaeologist George Stuart, the eminent Norman Hammond, and Marc Zender, a rising star in Maya Decipherment, co-author of the just-published “Reading Maya Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Maya Painting and Sculpture”
(highly recommended)… and of course, Yours Truly, promoting my own book.
Mat, the organizer, has some powerful friends. He has the support of Archaeology Magazine, and has attracted to earlier conferences the likes of Bill Saturno, discoverer of the San Bartolo Murals; reknowned and beloved explorer Merle Greene Robertson; justly-famous Michael D. Coe; Jaime Awe, Director of Archaeology for Belize; and fine European epigraphers like Harri Kettunen and Christophe Helmke. And many more, too many to list. I heartily approve of Mat’s democratic and inclusive atmosphere, aiming to elevate and educate the general audience, and humanizing the greats of archaeology for us all. Our field is full of fascinating people and fascinating stories, and Mat deserves special recognition for exposing them to the world.�
Check out his website and links at
My own lecture, “What the Maya Really Told Us About 2012” closes the conference.
Here’s an unedited blurb about it:
What is going to happen in December 2012? Did the Maya really predict the end of the world? Does their calendar really come to an end? Why is everyone so worried? It is almost impossible not to have been confronted with these scary rumors, especially in High School, and the clamor is rising to a climax. What should we do?
Dr. Mark Van Stone has spent the last few years examining everything we know about Ancient Maya beliefs about prophecy, their calendar, and their concepts of Time, Creation, Re-Creation, and especially their ideas about 2012. His book, “2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya” explores this topic in thorough and entertaining ways. His lecture will explain the way their complex calendars work — a little, just enough to help you follow their logic— and will examine all the relevant evidence they left us. You will be reassured to learn that, just like us, the Ancient Maya really did not predict, nor did they even expect, an “end” to their calendar.
But be not disappointed! Even if they were not Purveyors of Doom, The Maya are a fascinating people, with surprisingly different attitudes about Truth and the Cosmos, about Time and Reality, and about the Cosmic connections between geography, colors, trees, birds, time, and mythology.