(Agence France-Presse) Carbon-dating of an ancient beam from a Guatemalan temple may help end a century-long debate about the Mayan calendar, anthropologists said on Thursday.

Experts have long wrangled over how the Mayan calendar — which leapt to global prominence last year when the superstitious said it predicted the end of the world — correlates to the European calendar.

Texts and carvings from this now-extinct culture describe rulers and great events and attribute the dates according to a complex system denoted by dots and bars, known as the Long Count.

The Long Count consists of five time units: Bak’tun (144,000 days); K’atun (7,200 days), Tun (360 days), Winal (20 days) and K’in (one day).

The time is counted from a mythical starting point.

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