A scene from the movie “2012,” which is based on the premise that the Mayans predicted the world would end in 2012. (YouTube)

According to Maya expert Sven Gronemeyer, the hieroglyphs on the 1,300-year-old tablet describe not the end of the world in 2012, but the return of the Mayan god of creation and war. “The date, therefore, marks a transition to a new era, not an end,” the AP reports.

The stone has cracked, making the passage nearly illegible. But Gronemeyer says he can make out what it conveys — a prophecy by the ruler of the time, passed on to the residents of Tortuguero, on Mexico's Gulf coast. “For the elite of Tortuguero, it was clear they had to prepare the land for the return of the god,” he says.

Gronemeyer's pronouncement comes less than a week, however, after Mexican archaeologists acknowledged that there was a second reference to the 2012 date in Mayan inscriptions. And so the debate rages on.