Ancient Mayan Glyphs

The Mayan Glyphs were basically their script also called hieroglyphs. It stands to be the ONLY script of an ancient civilization to be substantially and accurately deciphered so far. In fact, it is still taught in certain Universities and Public Schools in some parts of Mexico.

It is written with the use of logograms and syllabic glyphs. It has been compared to the Japanese script and held to be somewhat similar.

Glyphs Structure

Usually elaborate and complicated in their design
Usually found laboriously painted on caves or bark paper, wood, stones etc
Usually logo syllabic (Individual symbols could represent a word or a syllable)
Usually written on blocks which are arranged in two wide columns

About 90% of all the found glyphs can now be deciphered with almost absolute accuracy.

Numerical System

The Mayans also had a very distinct numerical system. Its characteristics were:

Used a 20 number system: They used only 20 numbers in all of their calculations. This made their calculations very easy to figure out.

Used only whole numbers: From the calculations deciphered so far they seem to have used only whole numbers

For simple calculations bar and dot system used: They also seem to have had a system now named the bar and dot system that worked in the following way. The values of the bar and dot were Bar = 5, dot =1

Glyphs Deciphering

It was hard to decipher in the beginning. However, as time went on the code breakers began to identify its similarity to the Japanese language. This led to a large part being deciphered in the 19th and 20th century. It has, in recent times, received support and promotion from the Mexican government.



This site covers several articles on ancient mayan, aztec histoty and Inca civilization. It also covers the differences and similarities between these cultures.
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