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Decoding Mayan Glyphs

How Internet helps to decode Mayan scripts

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The Mayan civilization was an advanced Mesoamerica civilization which developed art, agriculture, written language as well as mathematical and astronomical systems. People know the Maya mainly from the Mayan calendar and the Doomsday Prophecy. However the truth is that the Mayan Calendar is in reality an Olmecs Calendar. The mystery that still remains unsolved is why their civilization disappeared without a trace, but that’s for another article.

When the first Mayan scripts were discovered no one had the slightest idea what those strange glyphs meant. The Mayan hieroglyphs were the writing system that the Mayan civilization used thousands of years ago. The earliest scripts attributed to the Maya go back to the 3 rd century BC and it has been used up until after the Spanish invaded America.

The Mayans used logograms similar in terms of functionality to the Japanese writing. But for many hundreds of years it wasn’t understood what the glyphs meant beyond its astronomical calculations and calendar meaning. It was in the 50s and 60s that we gradually started to decode the secrets of their language. However we still try to decipher the glyphs from hundreds of scripts that have been found.

A few years ago, Dr David Stuart of the University of Texas in Austin, started a blog named Maya Decipherment that will help scholars and amateurs to discuss their ideas related to Maya glyphs and post new inscriptions and help with translations of Mayan texts in order to unravel the history of this amazing civilization. And all of this happens fast, since you do not have to wait for magazines or scientific community approval. The blog already helps with the process and in a few years’ times progress will have been made that in the past would have taken decades.

The Internet can work like a distributed computer system and once such a system is plugged in properly, it is like you have a multi-processor AI system running all over the world on one task. And that is an idea that could help with many different projects and speed up solutions!

By John Black

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