2012–Learn the Truth Thursday at Harvard

November 17th, 2009 by ejalbright

A fragment of Tortuguero Monument 6, the only Classic Maya record of the 2012 date. The monument is now on display in the Museo Carlos Pellicer, Villahermosa. Photograph by Marc Zender.

A few days ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Marc Zender of Harvard’s Peabody Museum for a podcast on 2012. On Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009, Dr. Zender will present, “Much Ado about Nothing: 2012 and the Maya,” a free lecture slated for 5:30 p.m. in Harvard’s Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge, Mass.

Last weekend the biggest movie in the world was the disaster flick “2012.” According to Dr. Zender, the world will not be ending on Dec. 21, 2012 when the Maya calendar runs out.

“The 2012 meme has been hijacked by New Age enthusiasts and dubiously linked to everything from galactic alignments to the prophecies of Nostradamus,” Dr. Zender warns, according to the Peabody Museum’s press release. The archaeologist promises to “shed some light on the New Age nonsense surrounding the supposed Maya ‘end date’ of 2012.”

And to make his point, Dr. Zender will invoke Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” which, coincidentally, was written just after the Spanish Conquest, which Dr. Zender argues wiped out whatever was left of Maya high culture after the so-called Maya collapse of the 10th century.

About Marc Zender (from the press release)

Marc Zender (PhD 2004, Archaeology, University of Calgary) is a Research Associate in Maya Hieroglyphic Writing at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, and a Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology.

He also assists Joel Skidmore in maintaining Mesoweb, a major internet resource for the study of Mesoamerican culture. Zender’s research interests include anthropological and historical linguistics, comparative writing systems and decipherment (particularly of Mayan and Aztec writing) and Mesoamerican archaeology. Since 1998, Marc has been the project epigrapher for the Proyecto Arqueológico de Comalcalco, directed by Ricardo Armijo Torres, and he has undertaken archaeological, linguistic and epigraphic fieldwork in much of the Maya area, most recently in Copan, Honduras, where he assists Dr. William L. Fash in teaching the Harvard Field School. Marc’s recent publications include “One Hundred and Fifty Years of Nahuatl Decipherment (PARI Journal 8(4): 24-37) and, with Karl Taube, “American Gladiators: Ritual Boxing in Ancient Mesoamerica” (in Blood and Beauty: Organized Violence in the Art and Archaeology of Mesoamerica and Central America, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, 2009).

About the Peabody Museum

The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.

Location: The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station.

Hours: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, $6 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to: www.peabody.harvard.edu.

Media Contact: Faith Sutter, Communications Coord. Tel: (617) 495-3397 sutter@fas.harvard.edu

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