We spent a full (by which I mean really full) day exploring the extensive, multi-level archaeological site at Copan. Most of the time, the kids were at least two levels ahead of us.When we were there the hieroglyphic stairway was under a protective tarpaulin, making it tricky, but not impossible, to paint – it was pretty much impossible to photograph! The reason for the tarpaulin was that the steps and sculpture were being cleaned and repaired in preparation for the end of the world. I will explain...
In the 8th century, a remarkably accurate circular calendar was devised (and carved in stone) by the Mayans. It defined lengths of years and the timing of seasons for more than a millennium into the future – all the way to what would be December 21, 2012 on the calendar we use today. This led some people to believe that the Mayans had predicted the world would end that day. In Copan.
By 2011 it was pretty widely agreed that this probably wouldn’t happen, but it was decided to proceed with an appropriate ceremony the following year anyway.
The painting is a made-up view of the site, and the photograph on the right shows what we could actually see of the hieroglyphic stairway.