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Mayan researchers gather in Helsinki

A conference of Mayan researchers in Helsinki is underway this week—but is scheduled to conclude before some believe the Mayans predicted the world would end on 21 December.

Shamaani suorittaa rituaalia tulen vieressä, ympärillä ihmisiä.
Maya shamans gather in Guatemala. Image: Johan Ordonez / AFP / Lehtikuva

Researchers from all over the world converge on Helsinki for the conference, which started on 9 November, to mull all aspects of research into Mayan culture.

If the foremost Mayan researchers are worried about predictions of the end of the world, their programme devotes precious little time to discussing it. The topic will be covered by John Hoopes, a researcher at the University of Kansas, who will present on ’Popular Mythology and the Maya Apocalypse’.

He will argue that popular theories of the Mayan apocalypse, collectively known as the ”2012 phenomenon”, offer a ”case study in how well-intentioned scholarship can produce unintended consequences in both academic and non-academic realms”.

The conference is organised by Helsinki University’s Department of World Cultures and the European Association of Mayanists, and runs until 15 December. The conference website is here.

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