How the Internet Helps Decipher the Mayan Culture

How the Internet Helps Decipher the Mayan Culture

Scholars began to decipher the Mayan language many years ago and now the Internet is helping to finish this work to finally be able to write the history of this great Mesoamerican civilization.

Before your civilization will collapse600 years after the arrival of the Spanish to the New World, the Maya ruled much of Central America and the south of present-day Mexico for at least 1000 years. The secrets of his writing began to be revealed in the 1950s and 1960s accelerating in the 1970s, but there is still much to be done about his carvings and inscriptions that have remained for centuries in the jungle ruins.

David Stuart, an archaeologist at the University of Texas and one of the leading experts on Mayan culture, created a blog five years ago in which information on this type of writing could be exchanged. The blog called "Maya Decipherment”Put in contact with numerous scholars and amateurs who, through their comments, debated and refined the translations that had been made and to be done. Although there is still a lot of work to do, by using the internet everything is being much faster.

Last month, for example, Stuart published the new excavations in Guatemala that suggest that the Maya were not direct descendants of the early Olmec culture, a hypothesis that had been maintained by other archaeologists for a long time.

When the Spanish arrived in Central America they carried out a purge to eliminate the writings of the pagans who continued to work in the Mayan language, an event that survived three books that were rediscovered in the 18th and 19th centuries and called Dresden Codex, Paris Codex and Madrid Codex. Stuart describes these codices as “manuals for priestsWhich focus on very elaborate and precise astronomical calculations. During the Spanish colonial era, Bishop Diego de Landa did his best to get scribes who understood the Mayan language and thus be able to translate the Mayan griffins into the Spanish alphabet.

For a time myths were built such as that the Mayans were a peace-loving people, concerned about science and ritual or that December 21, 2012 was considered the end of the world. These ideas were wrong, the Mayans fought wars, conquered territories and treated their enemies badly like any other human being and also what has been thought as the day of the final judgment was no more than, an end yes, but an end of a "Long Count".

Mayan scribes wrote for centuries about great events in a language that hasn't changed a lot over the years. In Maya, today, some concepts can be understood but what is difficult is to understand the text as a whole.

The text was a combination of art and language, a combination of which if the patterns by which it is guided were known would be predictable, but the Mayans write in particular ways and even in many individual cases without following a fixed pattern.

For example, while the word «k'uh" it means "God”, The same word appears in other texts separated into syllables'k'u" Y ' hu‘.

Once he translation system It was more or less resolved now they face a multitude of different inscriptions than those that still continue with their translation.

When Stuart began his career thirty years ago the only tool he had was paper and pencilNow with technological advances, you can communicate with anyone in the world who has access to the Internet. Scholars separated from each other can now form a group and advance more quickly.

I was born in Madrid on August 27, 1988 and since then I started a work of which there is no example. Fascinated by both numbers and letters and a lover of the unknown, that is why I am a future graduate in Economics and Journalism, interested in understanding life and the forces that have shaped it. Everything is easier, more useful and more exciting if, with a look at our past, we can improve our future and for that… History.


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