Jose Arguelles, an art historian whose teachings about the Mayan calendar inspired the harmonic convergence event of 1987, has died at age 72.
His publisher and a statement from his foundation said he died March 23, in Australia. A spokeswoman for the publisher said Monday the cause was peritonitis.
On Aug. 16, 1987, thousands of new age adherents following the lead of Arguelles gathered at places such as the red rocks of Sedona, Ariz., Serpent Mound in Ohio and the Arthurian town of Glastonbury in England.
Arguelles was living in Boulder, Colo., and had written "The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology," which argued for replacing the Gregorian calendar, said Earth was in the last phases of a galactic beam of light it entered in 3113 B.C., and called for meditation to give humanity a chance to enter a new age in 2012.
At a mountain campsite, he blew a conch shell, and around the world others chanted, formed circles, held hands at dawn and danced in what one participant said was an attempt to change the worldwide consciousness. Debunkers ranged from academics to the "Doonesbury" comic strip.
Arguelles was born in Rochester, Minn., of Mexican and American heritage, according to autobiographical information released through North Atlantic Books. He taught art history and aesthetics at several universities.
Details about his activities in recent years were sketchy. He listed an address in Ashland, Ore., a town that has attracted new agers and where he had operated an art gallery.
Kat Engh of North Atlantic Books said Arguelles concentrated on his Foundation for the Law of Time, but she said the company didn't know where in Australia he died.
"He was referring to it as an extended retreat at an undisclosed location," she said.
A statement from the foundation said he was with his apprentice, Stephanie South, at the time he died and is survived by a daughter, his identical twin brother and a sister.