Until recently, only one reference to the infamous date of 2012 by the Maya was found on a stone tablet from Tortuguero. On Thanksgiving of this year, archaeologists announced the discovery of a second reference to the date found on a carved brick at the Comalcalco ruin, the only Mayan pyramid built of brick.
According to Arturo Mendez, spokesman for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, "the fragment of inscription had been discovered years ago and has been subject to thorough study." The "Comalcalco Brick" could be but a glimpse of the archaeological discoveries of the last 50 years that are due to be revealed to the public in the Fall of 2012 in a documentary funded by the Mexican and Guatemalan governments.
Depicted on the molded face of the brick is the glyph of the Mayan Calendar Round, coinciding with the end of the 13th Baktun of the Mayan Long Count calendar. But According to David Stuart, a specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin, there's no evidence that the brick refers specifically to 2012–it could be a reference to a date in ancient times describing an important historical event. Stuart notes that, unlike the Tortuguero phrase, the Comalcalco brick does not utilize a future tense, suggesting that it might be a historical reference opposed to a prophetic one.
Though the issue of tense is unclear, a translation of the third glyph on the brick reads "he/she/it arrives." While this doesn't say will arrive, it is not exactly past tense either and needs to be looked at in its entire context once access to the brick or full translation is given. If this is an accurate translation, than it does correspond nicely with the Tortuguero inscription involving Bolon Yokte, "a mysterious Mayan god associated with both war and creation," who according to the last eroded glyph on the tablet, "will descend from the sky."
A further oddity surrounding the discovery of the Comalcalco brick is that the inscribed side was laid facing inward or covered with stucco, suggesting that the brick was not meant to be seen by the majority and had some initiatory status. Or perhaps it lied waiting for the right moment of its discovery.
One thing that is certain, is that as we fast approach 2012, more discoveries will be made reshaping what we think we know about the infamous date.
Image: "…Comalcalco…" by archer10 on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.