Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) December 21, 2012.
A date that some have said could spell "doom" for the planet Earth,
The day marks the end of the more than 5,200-year-old Mayan Long Count Calendar.
But Cornell University archaeologist and Mayan specialist John Henderson said the Mayan's weren't interested in apocalyptic predictions, they just obsessed about counting time.
The Mayans have several calendars that track anything from the seasons to motions of planets. They even have a 365 day calendar that is similar to today's modern calendar.
Henderson said the Mayans used calendar dates and their relations to each other to decide things like when to marry, plant crops, or take on a political role.
"There was no context in life of when you didn't have to figure out where you were in one of those calendar cycles," Henderson said.
He said there wasn't any talk of a doomsday date until the 1960s. It's grown in greater fervor as the 21st has approached including spawning a major motion picture and documentaries about the date.
But Henderson said there's nothing in Mayan records to back up any such argument.
"We know they looked forward to it, as a mile stone," he said. "But they don't say it's the end of the world."
Henderson said most references of the Long Count Calendar that have survived are used in political spheres.
Mayan Kings would use the calendar's lengthy span to equate themselves with other famous rulers.
"It's kings trying to connect themselves with predecessors in the past that is considered mythical or divine," said Henderson. "And that's one way of legitimizing themselves."
The exact end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar is estimated to be Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 at 6:11 a.m. (EST).