November 14, 2018

Using Modern Tech Tools To Tell The Story Of The Maya & 2012

There was no known archeoastronomic calendar date associated with yesterday’s release of the Adobe Creative Cloud CS6 Suite of products–May 11, 2012–but after going through clips we recently shot of Dr. Anthony Aveni of Colgate, I’m sure, as he would say, we could find some 2012 enthusiast to “cherry pick” some points of significance to highlight the day.

For our part, we’ll just stick to what we know for fact–Using Adobe’s Prelude CS6 is making it easier for us to comb through the multiple hours of video we shot at the 2012 Society for American Archaeology meeting in Memphis in mid-March and help us catalog the materials in such a way that it’s going to greatly expedite the time we spend actually editing the content for the upcoming release of Dr. Mark Van Stone‘s interactive book for the iPad–2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya.

Dr. Anthony Aveni as he discusses the recent announcement about Maya ruins

We also are proud to say that we have video of Dr. Aveni talking about the discovery announced Thursday and the findings being released in Science magazine and National Geographic.  When can you see it?  When we get the book done and loaded up in iTunes of course!  Which thanks to the release of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite this past weekend, will be very, very soon.

I will say this though–if the Maya had been using these new Adobe Creative Cloud tools to tell their stories, make their glyphs and leave us hints/no hints about Dec. 21, 2012, no one would be worried about it being the end of the world.  In fact, they’d be like me and really hoping it doesn’t end.  I want to be still playing with these programs on Dec. 22nd!

We also have a couple BIG announcements coming about the release of the book.  But more about that later.

Prelude has been a great addition to our editing and creative tools.  Now we need to get back to using them!

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Maya Xultun Discoveries Fascinating–Prove Once Again No 2012 Doomsday Predicted

The announced discoveries from Xultun in Guatemala prove something that’s not new–archaeologists have been saying there is no evidence to predict a doomsday on Dec. 21, 2012 from Maya ruins. But the beauty of the discovery, their age and their very findings, are amazing and beautiful to review, to think about, and now, for scholars, to spend several years analyzing.

New York Times Photo and Article Reference

Our colleague, Dr. Mark Van Stone, has often repeated to us, even in video accounts on this site, that we still have only found a small, small percentage of the ruins in Mesoamerica and have yet to really unravel many of the mysteries that remain about them.

The discovery of the Maya ruins in Xultun prove this point once again.  Indeed, some of the articles we’ve ready help further emphasize this important point.  There is still so much we do not yet know about the Maya.

Xultun

We talked with Dr. Van Stone yesterday while he’s at the Archaeology Channel’s annual film festival in Eugene, Oregon this weekend.  He was clearly excited about this new find and was still reviewing the details of the findings.

In interviews we recently conducted in Memphis at the Society for American Archaeology, we interviewed Dr. Anthony Aveni of Colgate, one of the four scholars highlighted in the Xultun find.  We now are in the process of churning that video out for inclusion in Dr. Van Stones soon-to-be-release Interactive Book for the iPad–2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya.

We congratulate Dr. Aveni, Dr. Bill Saturno, Dr. David Stuart, Franco Rossi, and most of all, Maxwell Chamberlain for their great discovery.

 

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Building An Interactive Book on the iPad

We are in the process of converting Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya book to an interactive book for the iPad with the intended date of release coming in June 2012.  It’s been a very involved process but one we are learning so much from.

Larisa Lovelady of Birmingham, first tackled the massive task of editing the copy of the book, looking for updates and ways to approach taking something that’s been produced in a traditional form and transferring it into something much more alive and different with interactive charts, graphs and 3D animations.  Shawn Hartley of Omaha did the first transferring of the copy once edited into the iBooks Author software.  Last weekend, CEO & Founder Donny Claxton and Photographer Jamaal Jackson went to Memphis for the 72nd Annual Society for American Archaeology meeting where video snippets were shot of 12 world-renowned Mayanists who will appear in the book, including Dr. Anthony Aveni of Colgate, Dr. John B. Carlson, the director of the Center for Archaeoastronomy, Dr. Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archaeology, in Gainesville, FL, and Dr. John Hoopes of the University of Kansas among others.

Sample draft page of 2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya

We now are neck-deep in doing the transfer layout, building the graphic animations and the compressing of nearly 11 hours of amazing insightful video down to hopefully about an hour’s worth to include in this one-of-a-kind new version of books.

This version of a book isn’t going to change how students around the world learn, it’s going to change the tools they use to learn.  And we  are so excited to be on the cusp of this incredibly big step.

Our hats are off to Dr. Van Stone and the other scholars we met with last weekend.  They get this.  While other scholars sat in sessions debating the future of archaeological publishing–basically a word document, a pdf and maybe some form of an e-Book reader, our scholars were sitting in front of our cameras giving perspectives generations will be able to read about and view for generations to come about the 2012 Meme.

 

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Archaeoastronomy or Cultural Astronomy? Which Term Do You Use?

By Donny Claxton

It’s my second full day at the Society for American Archaeology meeting here in Memphis and wow, did I ever learn a lot today. Regrettably, I wasn’t able to attend a single session or paper reading.  The day was spent filming video interviews of Dr. Anthony Aveni, Dr. John Carlson, Dr. Susan Milbrath and a host of other scholars from around the country who specialize in Maya studies. It is because of their studies, each knows a fascinating amount of information about the Maya and any doomsday predictions for Dec. 21, 2012.

Dr. Anothony Aveni SAA meeting 2011

Today, there also were discussions with Dr. Aveni and Dr. Carlson about using the term “Cultural Astronomy” as opposed to “Archaeoastronomy.”

(I want to straighten one thing up here while I can.  We use the Twitter name @Archeoastronomy–without the A behind the H, in part because Twitter would only allow enough characters to spell it that way.  I also realized today that I’ve been spelling Archeology without the A behind the H, too, which apparently is accepted by the dictionary, but AP Style book says to include the A, so from hence forward on the site, so shall be the policy.)

The discussion with Dr. Aveni went along the lines that the term “Archaeoastronmy” has been tarnished by crack pots who have come along and jumped on the term and taken it in weird directions.  This is me saying this, not Dr. Aveni, but the people from the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens show come to mind.

Dr. Aveni did say that even though that even the likes of Eric Van Daniken haven’t been entirely bad for the field because even with his wild psuedo-scientific claims, he’s generated an interest in the field that has brought actual scholars into its arena of study.  His point was that there are many scholars in the world today who would never have studied  archaeoastronomy if they hadn’t seen the wild claims of Lord Pakal’s sarcophagus cover allegedly being a depiction of him sitting in a space capsule and then went in search for the actual facts surrounding it.

Dr. John Carlson

I had really been looking forward to getting to know Dr. Carlson.  He reminds me of my maternal grandfather and is one of the kindest and smartest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of having a deep, and informative conversation with.

Dr. Tony Aveni

In meeting Carlson and Aveni, today really became a fascinating and incredible day to me personally.  I bought Dr. Aveni’s 2012 book, The End of Time–The Maya Mystery of 2012 and got it autographed.

I had some great one-on-one conversations wtih Dr. Carlson and if I could spend the next several years in conversations learning from these two geniuses, I’d still be starving for more knowledge. As Dr. Aveni talked on camera today, he would rattle off a citation of someone’s work from a 1978 paper and the reference being on page X, and it saying ABC and then he’d go right on to another, almost like a Sunday morning preacher citing chapters in the Bible.  It was truly amazing and inspiring.

Dr. John Carlson

Dr. Mark Van Stone

We made a lot of progress today on the development of Dr. Mark Van Stone’s first interactive book for the iPad on the 2012 meme.

I really cannot wait for this iBook to hit the market because with the interviews we’ve conducted over the past 24 hours to include in this first-of-its kind book, there literally will be no other resource like it available as we draw closer to Dec. 21, 2012.

And as I now call it a day, I’m going to bed with some incredible new knowledge, perspectives and comfort in having made some wonderful new friends.

It’s a rare occasion to have the chance to sit down with an expert in a field of study.  Today I’ve had the chance to interview two men who created their own field of study–Archaeoastronomy.  When was the last time you did that?  I bet the chances are slim it ever happens again in my life.

Archaeoastronomy v. Cultural Astronomy

So, which term do you use?  Have the likes of Van Daniken, David Childress and Giorgio Tsoukalos  tainted the word Archaeastronomy too much for your own tastes?

 

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