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2012 Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya Paperback – June 21, 2010


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2012 Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya + The Hidden Maya: A New Understanding of Maya Glyphs + Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering The Dynasties of the Ancient Maya
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 174 pages
  • Publisher: Tlacaelel Press (June 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982682603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982682609
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,288,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Van Stone, Ph.D., G.F.
Professor of Art History, Southwestern College

Dr. Van Stone received his undergraduate degree (Oxy '73) in Physics and worked in the gamma-ray astronomy laboratory at the University of New Hampshire for four years, until lured away to self-employment as a calligrapher and carver. In the world of calligraphy and type design, he established himself as an expert in paleography and the evolution of written forms, teaching and lecturing widely on the subject for the next twenty years.

A lifelong autodidact, he constantly availed himself of opportunities to study in the reading rooms and storerooms of libraries and museums great and small throughout the world. A stint as a clay-animator at Will Vinton Studios and study with netsuke carver Saito Bishu Sensei in Kawaguchi, Japan focused his skills as a sculptor, along with his understanding of the cultures of animation, filmmaking, and Japan. A Guggenheim Fellowship took him around the world, studying and photographing manuscripts and inscriptions of many nations, from Medieval Europe and the Islamic world, to Southeast Asia and Japan, to Central America.

Although conversant in all these calligraphic traditions, he chose to focus on the most-complex and least-well-understood script, Maya Hieroglyphs, and entered the University of Texas graduate school under the reknowned Linda Schele in 1994. He received his MA in 1996 and his Ph.D. in 2005. During this time, he co-authored "Reading the Maya Glyphs" with eminent archaeologist Michael Coe; it is the standard introduction to the topic.

He is now Professor of Art History at Southwestern College, with a new book, "2012 - Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya" published in 2010. He considers his dual background in science and art essential to his unique understanding of Maya calligraphy, and of the development of all writing systems as visual art.

Customer Reviews

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This beautiful book thrilled me.
Maya Newbie
The several dozen essays are independent enough to read in any order, but exhaustively cross-referenced so they lead logically from one to another.
Joel Skidmore
Your book is one of the most interesting, informative and beautifully illustrated books we have ever seen.
Koki's mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joel Skidmore on December 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you want to know what the Ancient Maya said about 2012, why not ask one? Dr. Van Stone has examined virtually every piece of actual Mayan literature about this subject (and a few that are only tangentially relevant, but very entertaining). And he has come up with a readable, funny, intelligent conclusion, one simple enough for terrified high-schoolers who worry that they won't grow up, as well as the serious scholar. The several dozen essays are independent enough to read in any order, but exhaustively cross-referenced so they lead logically from one to another.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gayle Scroggs PhD on December 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Van Stone offers us a credible version of the Maya, based on a passionate yet scholarly study of their writings. Instead of coopting, hyping,catastrophizing, or otherwise distorting the information, he gives the open-minded reader a glimpse of a fascinating people. With illustrations and lively rhetoric, he brings new life and light to a popular but too often misunderstood culture.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Koki's mom on December 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
We have just received our copy of your book. We heard you speak at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in September and were very intrigued and interested in exploring this subject further. Your book is one of the most interesting, informative and beautifully illustrated books we have ever seen. The book is an automatic magnet for all who visit us and see it proudly displayed on our coffee table. It is getting a lot of interest from all our friends and family. We may have to order another copy or two...

Your parents must be very proud of you and your work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Polymath07 on November 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you are hoping the world will end, look elsewhere for proof. Professor Mark Van Stone, when asked what he expects to do on December 22, 2012, replied, "Go to my office and prepare lesson plans." Considering that it will be a Saturday, that makes him a more diligent worker than I am!

This book is comprehensive, accessible, and filled with historical information about what the ancient Maya were REALLY like. For example, many things people might call "Mayan" are really Aztec. Sensational accounts of blood sacrifice seem to ignore this distinction: Aztec blood sacrifices were typically killings, while Mayan ones typically were not unto death, but were bloodletting from their own royalty. If our political leaders had to let their own blood to pacify angry gods, I suspect priestly prophecies that the gods are angry would be somewhat rare. Other than this the Mayans were a lot like us.

Their seeming obsession with time stemmed from the accuracy of their astronomical observations. About the same time that Europeans discovered the precession of the equinoxes, also with "eyeball" astronomy only, the Mayans did, but they also did something about it: They created a calendar that used the 21,000-year great cycle as one more temporal platform on which to build a mythology. Then they went a step further, imagining even longer cycles of time, in the millions of years. They "discovered" deep time long before our Geologists figured out that fossils had to be millions of years old. But when your basic Cycle is about 21,000 years long, a cycle around 5,000 years is just one quarter of that, and the date 13.0.0.0.0. marks the beginning of the next such cycle, and also the next 21,000 year cycle (I am using very approximate numbers here. The book's records are of course more precise).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Maya Newbie on November 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Being a Maya Newbie, I had no idea of the delightful surprise awaiting me in this book. It was my first introduction to the Maya and it also guided me to a better understanding of the Maya connection to 2012. This beautiful book thrilled me. I had no idea how rich and complex the Maya world was. Because of this book, I have become spellbound, enchanted and charmed by the hieroglyphs, art and creation myths of the ancient Maya. The book includes astonishing drawings of hieroglyphs as well as exquisite color pictures in high definition - making the book a visual delight. Something else I really enjoyed about the book was the use of humor by Dr. Van Stone. I'd be reading something incredible and then suddenly I'd be laughing! The book is a great read not only for scholars of the Maya but also for those of us just discovering these incredible people. Oh, and FYI, apparently the world will continue after 2012!
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