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Anthropologist to explain significance of 2012 in Maya culture


October 22, 2009

Anthropologist Duncan Earle will speak at Wake Forest University on Maya beliefs about 2012 as well as recent speculation and media hype surrounding the year.

Earle will speak at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at Wake Forest’s Museum of Anthropology.  His talk is titled “2012: What’s the Story?”  It is being presented in conjunction with a new permanent exhibit of Maya culture at the museum called “Art of Sky, Art of Earth: Maya Cosmic Imagery.” 

The date Dec. 21, 2012 is receiving much interest in the news media, in newly-published books and in an upcoming major film called “2012.”  The current attention involves largely apocalyptical stories and rumors linked to the end of a 5,128-year-long cycle in a Maya dating system called the Long Count Calendar.  As one Associated Press story reported, “Most archaeologists, astronomers and Maya say the only thing likely to hit Earth is a meteor shower” of New Age, pop astronomy and Internet doomsday rumors.

Earle is an applied cultural anthropologist who has worked largely in Mexico and Guatemala in the areas of international development, the environment and community relations for more than 25 years.  He has taught on the faculties of American University and Clark University.  Currently, he is working in the area of environmental sustainability with Jadora International.  According to its Web site, Jadora International is focused “on fiscally viable methods of forest restoration and protection.”

Earle received his doctorate in anthropology at the State University of New York at Albany.

In addition to his talk on 2012, Earle will speak on Maya religion and ceremony at the museum at 4 p.m. Nov. 10.  He will deliver a talk titled “Micro-financial Alternatives to Rain Forest Destruction in the Congo” at 4 p.m. Nov. 11 at the museum.

Earle’s presentations are free and open to the public.

His appearance at Wake Forest is sponsored by the Department of Religion, the Department of Anthropology, Department of Religion, Museum of Anthropology and Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts.

For more information, call 336-758-5282.

Press Contacts:

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


Cheryl Walker
(336) 758-5237


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