by Staff Writers
Boston (UPI) May 10, 2012
Mayan wall writings in Guatemala include calendars suggesting the culture was not convinced the world will end in 21012, as many have believed, researchers say.
Some previously discovered Mayan calendars did not go beyond 2012 -- but the newly discovered writings and calendars do, scientists said.
"So much for the supposed end of the world," archaeologist William Saturno of Boston University, lead author of a study published in the journal Science, said.
Discovered in the ruins of Xultun, the astronomical calendar was unearthed in a filled-in scribe's room, USA Today reported.
The ancient Mayan civilization of pyramid temples had collapsed there by about A.D. 900, leaving very few records of their astronomy -- until now, Saturno said.
"The numbers we found indicate an obsession with time and cycles of time, some of them very large," Saturno says. "Maya scribes most likely transcribed the numbers on the wall in this room into (books) just like the ones later seen by conquistadors."
Some of the writings include dates corresponding to a time after the year 3500, he said.
Once considered peaceful star-gazers, ancient Mayan society has come to be identified through more recent research as engaged in politics, war and trade.
"We're seeing the pendulum swing back with this discovery, where we can now see astronomy playing a role in ordering their society," Mayan writing expert Simon Martin at Philadelphia's Penn Museum said.
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Munich Re reports return to profit after tsunami blow
Berlin (AFP) May 8, 2012
Munich Re, the world's biggest reinsurer, said on Tuesday it had returned to first-quarter profit after a difficult start to 2011 hit by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The group, which posted a consolidated profit of 780 million euros ($1.0 billion) in the first three months compared to a loss of 947 million euros a year earlier, also slightly raised its full-year outlook. ... read more
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