Anthropologist to discuss the approaching Maya millennium

Duncan Earle, an expert on Mayan culture and the Mayan calendar system, will visit Winston-Salem Oct. 31-Nov. 1 to present two talks focusing on the intersection of contemporary and ancient Mayan life.

The first, titled, “The Ancient Future Past: Approaching the Maya Millennium,” will begin at 2 p.m. Oct. 31 at Sciworks.

Earle, associate professor and co-director of the Anthropology Research Center at the University of Texas at El Paso, will present a second talk, “Astronomy, Calendar, Cosmos: Science and Belief in the Mayan World,” at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Wake Forest University Museum of Anthropology.

Both presentations are free and open to the public.

A fluent speaker of Spanish and two Mayan languages, Earle is the author of numerous articles and book chapters concerning the Maya in Guatemala and Mexico. His many publications have been featured in Cultural Survival, the American Anthropologist and the American Ethnologist. His most recent article is titled, “Menchu Tales and Maya Social Landscapes.”

“For the Maya, time is in spiraling cycles that carry the past into the future, making clear what is yet to come on the basis of past events,” says Earle.

A few years into the next millennium, the ancient Maya calendar of 5,000 years comes to an end. Scholars, mystics, and counter-cultural visionaries have all speculated upon what the end of the ancient calendar signifies.

To explain the Mayan view of the future, Earle will use insights gained from 25 years of studying both ancient and contemporary Mayan culture. As he will discuss in his talks, “Past and future are tied, measured from the present as seen through shamanic reckoning.”

To conclude the Wake Forest lecture, Earle will show audience members how to calculate their Mayan calendar “name” and “number,” and how, according to the Maya, these two things worked to determine a person’s personal fate.

Earle’s visit is co-sponsored by the Wake Forest anthropology department, the Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology and Sciworks. The visit to Wake Forest is part of “Science and Technology: The Next Millennium,” a yearlong series of events celebrating scientific inquiry and the coming millennium.

For information, call 336-758-5282.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Events, Speakers