Anthony F. Aveni helped develop the field of archaeoastronomy and now is considered one of the founders of Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy, in particular for his research in the astronomical history of the Maya Indians of ancient Mexico.
He is a lecturer, speaker, and editor/author of more than two dozen books on ancient astronomy. Featured in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 10 best university professors in the country, Aveni was also voted National Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Washington D.C., the highest national award for teaching. At Colgate he has received, among other teaching awards, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching (1997) and the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society Distinguished Teaching Award voted by the Freshman Class of 1990.
His latest book has generated wide interest as the date Dec. 21, 2012, has become the focal point for a wide variety of theories about how it marks the end of the world, or at least the end of the world as we know it.
Whether the end will result from the magnetic realignment of the north and south poles, bringing floods, earthquakes, death, and destruction; or from the return of alien caretakers to enlighten or enslave us; or from a global awakening, a sudden evolution of Homo sapiens into non-corporeal beings—theories of great, impending changes abound in Internet forums, Hollywood movies, and TV specials.
In The End of Time, Aveni explores these theories, explains their origins, and measures them objectively against evidence unearthed by Maya archaeologists, iconographers, and epigraphers. He probes the latest information astronomers and earth scientists have gathered on the likelihood of Armageddon and the oft-proposed link between the Maya Long Count cycle and the precession of the equinoxes. He then expands on these prophecies to include the broader context of how other cultures, ancient and modern, thought about the “end of things” and speculates on why cataclysmic events in human history have such a strong appeal within American pop culture.