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The Mayan numeral system was the system to represent numbers and calendar dates in the Maya civilization. It was a vigesimal (base-20) positional numeral system. The numerals are made up of three symbols; zero (shell shape, with the plastron uppermost), one (a dot) and five (a bar).

The Maya counting system required only three symbols: a dot representing a value of one, a bar representing five, and a shell representing zero . That the Maya understood the value of zero is remarkable – most of the world’s civilizations had no concept of zero at that time.

Zero is important because of its use as a placeholder, at least initially. In any numerical system with a base, a number indicating no numbers for that placeholder value is important so that the numerical system can easily expand. Mayan numbers, using a base-20 system.

To write this, draw three dots and a line (8), then a gap, and finally a line (5). 399 is nineteen 20s plus 19, which makes it the largest number you can write with two Mayan ‘digits’. To write 400, think of it as twenty 20s. So 400 is written as a dot, a gap, a clamshell, a gap and a second clamshell.

Aryabhata

Beginning in the 6th century BC with the Pythagoreans, with Greek mathematics the Ancient Greeks began a systematic study of mathematics as a subject in its own right. Around 300 BC, Euclid introduced the axiomatic method still used in mathematics today, consisting of definition, axiom, theorem, and proof.

Hindu-Arabic numerals, set of 10 symbolsâ€” 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0â€”that represent numbers in the decimal number system. They originated in India in the 6th or 7th century and were introduced to Europe through the writings of Middle Eastern mathematicians, especially al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi, about the 12th century.

Archimedes of Syracuse

Without zero , modern electronics wouldn’t exist. Without zero , there’s no calculus, which means no modern engineering or automation. Without zero , much of our modern world literally falls apart.

Two thousand years ago, the ancient Maya developed one of the most advanced civilizations in the Americas. They developed a written language of hieroglyphs and invented the mathematical concept of zero. With their expertise in astronomy and mathematics, the Maya developed a complex and accurate calendar system.

The history of chocolate can be traced to the ancient Mayans , and even earlier to the ancient Olmecs of southern Mexico. The word chocolate may conjure up images of sweet candy bars and luscious truffles, but the chocolate of today is little like the chocolate of the past.

The Mayans called themselves , broadly, the Maya people after a major city called Mayapan on the Yucatan peninsula.

The Maya used the following names for their powers of twenty: kal (20), bak (400), pic (8,000), calab (160,000), kinchil (3,200,000) and alau (64,000,000).

Similar to the number system we use today , the Mayan system operated with place values. To achieve this place value system they developed the idea of a zero placeholder. The Mayan system is in base 20 (vigesimal) rather than base 10 (decimal). This system also uses a different digit representation.

Mysterious Decline of the Maya From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed.

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