Mark Van Stone, Ph.D.
(Author, 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya)
4.1 – The Mayan Conspiracy (2.17.12)
4.2 – The Doomsday Prophecies (2.17.12)
Speaker, Author, Maya Expert, Professor of Art History, Southwestern College
Mark Van Stone is a Maya expert specializing in Maya Hieroglyphs and calligraphy.
Van Stone’s books include “2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya” inspired by Maya inscriptions, astronomical knowledge, math, and myth, and “Reading the Maya Glyphs”. Responding to the upsurge in interest in “the Maya prophecies”, Prof. Mark Van Stone has spent the last several years researching what the Ancient Maya actually said about 2012.
A lifelong autodidact, he constantly availed himself of opportunities to study in the reading rooms and storerooms of libraries and museums great and small throughout the world. A stint as a clay-animator at Will Vinton Studios and study with netsuke carver Saito Bishu Sensei in Kawaguchi, Japan focused his skills as a sculptor, along with his understanding of the cultures of animation, film making, and Japan. A Guggenheim Fellowship took him around the world, studying and photographing manuscripts and inscriptions of many nations, from Medieval Europe and the Islamic world, to Southeast Asia and Japan, to Central America. Dr. Van Stone received his undergraduate degree (Oxy ’73) in Physics and worked in the gamma-ray astronomy laboratory at the University of New Hampshire for four years, until lured away to self-employment as a calligrapher and carver. In the world of calligraphy and type design, he established himself as an expert in paleography and the evolution of written forms, teaching and lecturing widely on the subject for the next twenty years.
Although conversant in all these calligraphic traditions, he chose to focus on the most-complex and least-well-understood script, Maya Hieroglyphs, and entered the University of Texas graduate school under the reknowned Linda Schele in 1994. He received his MA in 1996 and his Ph.D. in 2005. During this time, he co-authored “Reading the Maya Glyphs” with eminent archaeologist Michael Coe; it is the standard introduction to the topic.
He is now Professor of Art History at Southwestern College, with a new book, “2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya” published in 2010. He considers his dual background in science and art essential to his unique understanding of Maya calligraphy, and of the development of all writing systems as visual art. 
Responding to the upsurge in interest in “the Maya prophecies”, Prof. Mark Van Stone has spent the last several years researching What the Ancient Maya Actually Said about 2012. The result is a full-color, 170-page book, *2012 – Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya*, based entirely on science, archaeology and Precolumbian art. Starting as a physicist, working in the University of New Hampshire’s Space Science Center, Van Stone pursued a career in art, and eventually earned his Ph.D. in Maya Hieroglyphs under the legendary Linda Schele and David Stuart. Dr. Van Stone is also co-author, with Michael Coe, of *Reading the Maya Glyphs* (2001), the leading book on deciphering Maya inscriptions.
The breaking of the Maya code has completely changed our knowledge of this ancient civilization, and has revealed the Maya people’s long and vivid history.
Decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic writing has progressed to the point where most Maya written texts―whether inscribed on monuments, written in the codices, or painted or incised on ceramics―can now be read with confidence.
In this practical guide, first published in 2001, Michael D. Coe, the noted Mayanist, and Mark Van Stone, an accomplished calligrapher, have made the difficult, often mysterious script accessible to the nonspecialist. They decipher real Maya texts, and the transcriptions include a picture of the glyph, the pronunciation, the Maya words in Roman type, and the translation into English. For the second edition, the authors have taken the latest research and breakthroughs into account, adding glyphs, updating captions, and reinterpreting or expanding upon earlier decipherments.
After an introductory discussion of Maya culture and history and the nature of the Maya script, the authors introduce the glyphs in a series of chapters that elaborate on topics such as the intricate calendar, warfare, royal lives and rituals, politics, dynastic names, ceramics, relationships, and the supernatural world. The book includes illustrations of historic texts, a syllabary, a lexicon, and translation exercises. Illustrated in two colors throughout