Tuesday, June 14, 2011
David Stuart’s new book, titled “The Order of Days: The Maya World and the Truth about 2012,” was just released by Random House. In this book, Stuart takes a hard look at the frenzy over 2012 and offers a fascinating and accurate trip through Mayan culture and belief.
“The Order of Days” establishes how the idea that the “end of the Mayan calendar,” which supposedly heralds the end of our own existence, says far more about our culture than about the ancient Maya. It explores how the real intellectual achievement of ancient Maya timekeeping and worldview is far more impressive and remarkable than any of the popular, and often outrageous, claims about this advanced civilization. The book ultimately concludes that the ancient Maya were worthy of study and admiration not because they were strange, but because they were altogether human, and they developed a compelling vision of time unlike any other civilization before or since.
About David Stuart: In 2004, David Stuart was appointed as the Linda and David Schele Professor of Mesoamerican Art and Writing. His interests in the traditional cultures of Mesoamerica are wide-ranging, but his primary research focuses is the archaeology and epigraphy of ancient Maya civilization. His early work on the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphs led to a MacArthur Fellowship in 1984. He received his Ph.D in anthropology from Vanderbilt University in 1995, and taught at Harvard University for eleven years before arriving at The University of Texas at Austin. Stuart has conducted field research at numerous archaeological sites in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, and remains actively engaged in several large-scale excavation projects in the Maya area. His publications include Ten Phonetic Syllables (1987), which laid much of the groundwork for the now-accepted methodology of decipherment. In 2003, he published a volume ongoing series Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, devoted to drawings and photographs of sculpture from Piedras Negras, Guatemala. Stuart is also the director of The Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas at Austin (formerly CHAAAC), which fosters multi-disciplinary studies and produces publications on ancient American art and culture.