An ancient Maya text has emerged from the jungles of Guatemala confirming the so-called "end date" of the Maya calendar, Dec. 21, 2012.
Considered one of the most significant hieroglyphic finds in decades, the 1,300-year-old inscription contains only the second known reference to the "end date," but does not predict doomsday.
"The text talks about ancient political history rather than prophecy," Marcello A. Canuto, director of Tulane University's Middle American Research Institute, said.
Carved on a stone staircase, the inscription was found at the ruins of La Corona, in the dense rainforest of northwestern Guatemala, by an international team of archaeologists led by Canuto and colleague Tomás Barrientos of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.
The archaeologists made the discovery as they decided to excavate in front of a building that had been heavily damaged nearly 40 years ago by looters looking for carved stones and tombs.
"We knew they found something important, but we also thought they might have missed something," Barrientos said.