December 21, 2012 is a much-debated date: Is it the beginning of the end or a new beginning? In this documentary, find out what the ancient Maya believed in.
In 2012: The Beginning, we travel the world to examine what the Sacred Maya texts really say.
At the ruins of Copán, Honduras, we go where few individuals and even fewer cameras have gone: 20 meters underground, to the spectacularly preserved, 1,600-year-old Margarita Temple. In Dresden, Germany, we examine the famed Dresden Codex, one of only three remaining authenticated manuscripts of the ancient Maya, and the earliest known book from the Americas. In Guatemala, the veil is lifted from the mysterious world of Maya shamanism. And in México, we investigate the little-seen Tortuguero Monument 6, the only known inscription citing this much-storied date. What will we learn about the lost world of an ancient civilization? About the future of our own?
Throughout, our journey is guided by noted archaeologists, scholars, and the living Maya, who take us into the field—to the very origins of the Maya Long Count calendar—and into their lives and sacred ceremonies. Together, these people from very different worlds shed light on a date that has long been shrouded in mystery and intrigue.