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).
|Seq. Num.||Yucatec name||Meaning of glyph|
The turtle is the one that had a fundamental role as the origin of life for this culture. The sea turtle was not only important within the Maya cosmogony but also for other cultures in Mesoamerica that related its shell to the celestial vault and the animal’s body was the axis that united both heaven and earth.
Maya mathematics constituted the most sophisticated mathematical system ever developed in the Americas. The Maya counting system required only three symbols : a dot representing a value of one, a bar representing five, and a shell representing zero.
There is no Maya alphabet . Maya writing is difficult to interpret for a number of reasons. First, glyphs do not represent just sounds or ideas, they can represent both, making it difficult to know how each glyph or cartouche should be read.
Maya mythology describes serpents as being the vehicles by which celestial bodies, such as the sun and stars, cross the heavens. The shedding of their skin made them a symbol of rebirth and renewal. They were so revered, that one of the main Mesoamerican deities, Quetzalcoatl, was represented as a feathered serpent .
It is extremely accurate, and the calculations of Maya priests were so precise that their calendar correction is 10,000th of a day more exact than the standard calendar the world uses today .
The current practice of referring to the current baktun as ” baktun 13” or “thirteenth baktun ” may stand, even though it is properly the fourteenth baktun .
Most historians think that 4 Ahau 8 Cumku (most likely August 11, 3114 bce) was the base date used by the Maya for the start of the “Long Count” and the first “Great Cycle,” a period of 5,125 years that ends on December 21, 2012 ce.
As we said, Maya writing is a combination of glyphs that stand for syllables, or “syllable glyphs,” and glyphs that stand for whole words, or “logos.” There are 200 to 250 syllable glyphs that were used in Classical Maya writing, and about 500 logos.
The first recorded zero appeared in Mesopotamia around 3 B.C. The Mayans invented it independently circa 4 A.D. It was later devised in India in the mid-fifth century, spread to Cambodia near the end of the seventh century, and into China and the Islamic countries at the end of the eighth.
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.