My degree focused on Mayan and Aztec art and history. The Mayan long calendar (which is supposed to "end" in 2012) works like a three cog wheel. There is one cog that is approx a week, another that is around a month and a much larger cog. All three together form the long calender. Every 50 years the Mayan short calender "restarts". In 2012 represents the first time (in our time) that the long calendar will restart. Just keep in mind that their calendar is cylindrical, so it never really ends. Also, the Mayans thought that this was one of multiple version of the world, others included corn people, mud people and monkey people. While the Mayans did have a more accurate calender than the Europeans, they also had many other beliefs that do not correlate with our understanding of the world. For example, they also believed that the only way to convince the gods to keep our world going was with human sacrifices.