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Encyclopedia > Maya script
Maya
Type Alternative - Logosyllabic (used both Logograms and syllabic characters)
Languages Mayan languages
Time period 3rd century BCE to 16th century CE
ISO 15924 Maya
Maya glyphs in stucco at the Museo de sitio in Palenque, Mexico
Maya glyphs in stucco at the Museo de sitio in Palenque, Mexico

The Maya script, commonly known as Maya hieroglyphs, was the writing system of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica, presently the only deciphered script of the Mesoamerican writing systems. The earliest inscriptions which are identifiably Maya date to the 3rd century BCE,[1] and writing was in continuous use until shortly after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century CE (and even later in isolated areas such as Tayasal). Maya writing used logograms complemented by a set of syllabic glyphs, somewhat similar in function to modern Japanese writing. Maya writing was called "hieroglyphics" or "hieroglyphs" by early European explorers of the 18th and 19th centuries who did not understand it but found its general appearance reminiscent of Egyptian hieroglyphs, to which however the Maya writing system is not at all related. A logogram, or logograph, is a single grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme (a meaningful unit of language). ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... Page 9 of the Dresden Codex showing the classic Maya language written in Mayan hieroglyphs(from the 1880 Förstermann edition) Mayan languages (alternatively: Maya languages[1]) constitute a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. ... ISO 15924, Codes for the representation of names of scripts, defines two sets of codes for a number of writing systems (scripts). ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... Phonetics (from the Greek word φωνή, phone meaning sound, voice) is the study of the sounds of human speech. ... Unicode is an industry standard designed to allow text and symbols from all of the writing systems of the world to be consistently represented and manipulated by computers. ... This chart shows concisely the most common way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is applied to represent the English language. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (896x624, 248 KB) edit of Image:Palenque glyphs. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (896x624, 248 KB) edit of Image:Palenque glyphs. ... The Palace, Ruins of Palenque Palenque is a Maya archeological site near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas, located at about 130 km south of Ciudad del Carmen (see map). ... A writing system, also called a script, is used to visually record a language with symbols. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Maya civilization is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as its spectacular art, monumental architecture, and very sophisticated mathematical and astronomical systems. ... The cultural areas of Mesoamerica Mesoamerica or Meso-America (Spanish: Mesoamérica) was a geographical culture area extending from central Honduras and northwestern Costa Rica on the south, and, in Mexico, from the Soto la Marina River in Tamaulipas and the Rio Fuerte in Sinaloa on the north. ... Mesoamerica is one of the relatively few places in the world where writing has developed independently throughout history. ... The 3rd century BC started the first day of 300 BC and ended the last day of 201 BC. // The Pyramid of the Moon, one of several monuments built in Teotihuacán Early 3rd century BC or later - Theater, Epidauros is built. ... Conquistador (Spanish: []) (meaning Conqueror in the Spanish language) is the term used to refer to the soldiers, explorers and adventurers who brought much of the Americas and Asia Pacific under Spanish colonial rule between the 15th and 17th centuries, starting with the 1492 settlement established in the modern-day Bahamas... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... Flores is the capital city of El Petén department of Guatemala. ... A logogram, or logograph, is a single grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme (a meaningful unit of language). ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... Nihongo in kanji This article describes the modern Japanese writing system and its history. ... It has been suggested that Hieroglyph (French Wiki article) be merged into this article or section. ...

Contents

The languages

As far as is currently known, the Maya script of the Classic era was primarily used to write two Mayan languages, Ch'olan (in the central parts of the Maya lands around Palenque and Tikal, and as far south as Copán) and Yukatek (in the Yucatán Peninsula). Ch'olan is believed to have been a single language at the time, as was Yucatec; since then both languages have split to form each their subgroup of the Mayan languages. However, Cholan may have been a lingua franca over much of the Maya area, and local influences of varying degrees have been detected. Yukatek Maya was frequently written with Ch'olan elements, suggesting that the city states of the Yucatán peninsula employed Ch'olan scribes. There is also some evidence that the script may have been occasionally used to write Mayan languages of the Guatemalan highlands[1]. Page 9 of the Dresden Codex showing the classic Maya language written in Mayan hieroglyphs(from the 1880 Förstermann edition) Mayan languages (alternatively: Maya languages[1]) constitute a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. ... The Palace, Ruins of Palenque Palenque is a Maya archeological site near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas, located at about 130 km south of Ciudad del Carmen (see map). ... Tikal (or Tik’al, according to the more current orthography) is the largest of the ancient ruined cities of the Maya civilization. ... Location of Copán The Pre-Columbian city now known as Copán is a locale in extreme western Honduras, in the Copán Department, near to the Guatemalan border. ... The Yucatán peninsula as seen from space The Yucatán Peninsula separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico. ... Page 9 of the Dresden Codex showing the classic Maya language written in Mayan hieroglyphs(from the 1880 Förstermann edition) Mayan languages (alternatively: Maya languages[1]) constitute a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. ... Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ... This is about scribe, the profession. ...


Structure

An inscription in Maya hieroglyphics from the site of Naranjo, relating to the reign of king Itzamnaaj K'awil, 784-810.
An inscription in Maya hieroglyphics from the site of Naranjo, relating to the reign of king Itzamnaaj K'awil, 784-810.

Maya writing is structured around glyphs and glyph groups. The glyphs are pictures. Main signs u multunob are larger and more central in a group. Affixes u ceilob are joined to the main sign and may be prefixes u sak ceilob (left), superfixes u kaan ceilob (above), subfixes uy ek ceilob (below), and postfixes u kan ceilob (right) depending upon their position,[2] which were laboriously painted on ceramics, walls or bark-paper codices, carved in wood or stone, or molded in stucco. Carved and molded glyphs were painted, but the paint has not often survived. About three-quarters or more of Maya writing can now be read with varying degrees of certainty, enough to give a comprehensive idea of its structure. Download high resolution version (191x630, 54 KB)Naranjo, Peten, Guatemala. ... Download high resolution version (191x630, 54 KB)Naranjo, Peten, Guatemala. ... Inscription relating to the reign of king Itzamnaaj Kawil, 784-810. ... Events August 31 - Paul IV abdicates as Patriarch of Constantinople December 25 - Tarasius elected Patriarch of Constantinople The Japanese capital moved away from Nara. ... 8-10 is also going to be the Toronto Raptors record as of Dec. ... A glyph is a carved figure or character, incised or in relief; a carved pictograph; hence, a pictograph representing a form originally adopted for sculpture, whether carved or painted. ... An affix is a morpheme that is attached to a base morpheme to form a word. ... First page of the Codex Argenteus A codex (Latin for block of wood, book; plural codices) is a handwritten book, in general, one produced from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages. ... Stucco is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water which is applied wet, and hardens when it dries. ...


The Maya script was a logosyllabic system. Individual symbols ("glyphs") could represent either a word (actually a morpheme) or a syllable; indeed, the same glyph could often be used for both. For example, the calendaric glyph MANIK’ was also used to represent the syllable chi. (It's customary to write logographic readings in all capitals and phonetic readings in italics.) It is possible, but not certain, that these conflicting readings arose as the script was adapted to new languages, as also happened with Japanese kanji. There was ambiguity in the other direction as well: Different glyphs could be read the same way. For example, half a dozen apparently unrelated glyphs were used to write the very common third person pronoun u-. A logogram, or logograph, is a single grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme (a meaningful unit of language). ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... A syllable (Ancient Greek: ) is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ... Grammatical person, in linguistics, is deictic reference to the participant role of a referent, such as the speaker, the addressee, and others. ...


Maya was usually written in blocks arranged in columns two blocks wide, read as follows:

Maya inscriptions were most often written in columns two glyphs wide, with each such column read left to right, top to bottom
Maya inscriptions were most often written in columns two glyphs wide, with each such column read left to right, top to bottom

Within each block, glyphs were arranged top-to-bottom and left-to-right, superficially rather like Korean Hangul syllabic blocks. However, in the case of Maya, each block tended to correspond to a noun or verb phrase such as his green headband. Also, glyphs were sometimes conflated, where an element of one glyph would replace part of a second. Conflation occurs in other scripts: For example, in medieval Spanish manuscripts the word de 'of' was sometimes written Ð (a D with the arm of an E). In place of the standard block configuration Maya was also sometimes written in a single row or column, 'L', or 'T' shapes. These variations most often appeared when they would better fit the surface being inscribed. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Jamo redirects here. ... Look up phrase in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Maya glyphs were fundamentally logographic. Generally the glyphs used as phonetic elements were originally logograms that stood for words that were themselves single syllables, syllables that either ended in a vowel or in a weak consonant such as y, w, h, or glottal stop. For example, the logogram for 'fish fin' (Maya [kah] — found in two forms, as a fish fin and as a fish with prominent fins), came to represent the syllable ka. These syllabic glyphs performed two primary functions: They were used as phonetic complements to disambiguate logograms which had more than one reading, as also occurred in Egyptian, and they were used to write grammatical elements such as verbal inflections which did not have dedicated logograms, as in modern Japanese. For example, b'alam 'jaguar' could be written as a single logogram, BALAM, complemented phonetically as ba-BALAM, or BALAM-ma, or ba-BALAM-ma, or written completely phonetically as ba-la-ma. The glottal stop or voiceless glottal plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages. ...


Phonetic glyphs stood for simple consonant-vowel or bare-vowel syllables. However, Mayan phonotactics is slightly more complicated than this: Most Maya words end in a consonant, not a vowel, and there may be sequences of two consonants within a word as well, as in xolte’ [ʃolteʔ] 'scepter', which is CVCCVC. When these final consonants were sonorants (l, m, n) or glottals (h, ’) they were sometimes ignored ("underspelled"), but more often final consonants were written, which meant that an extra vowel was written as well. This was typically an "echo" vowel that repeated the vowel of the previous syllable. That is, the word [kah] 'fish fin' would be written in full as ka-ha. However, there are many cases where some other vowel was used, and the orthographic rules for this are only partially understood. Here's our current understanding: Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... In phonetics and phonology, a sonorant is a speech sound that is produced without turbulent airflow in the vocal tract. ... Glottal consonants are consonants articulated with the glottis. ...

  • A CVC syllable was written CV-CV, where the two vowels (V) were the same: yo-po [yop] 'leaf'
  • A syllable with a long vowel (CVVC) was written CV-Ci, unless the long vowel was [i], in which case it was written CiCa: ba-ki [baak] 'captive', yi-tzi-na [yihtziin] 'younger brother'
  • A syllable with a glottalized vowel (CV’C or CV’VC) was written with a final a if the vowel was [e, o, u], or with a final u if the vowel was [a] or [i]: hu-na [hu’n] 'paper', ba-tz’u [ba’tz’] 'howler monkey'.

A more complex spelling is ha-o-bo ko-ko-no-ma for [ha’o’b kohkno’m] 'they are the guardians'. (Vowel length and glottalization are not always indicated in common words like 'they are'.) A minimal set, not fully translated, is, See also Glottalic consonant Glottalization is the complete or partial closure of the glottis during the articulation of another sound. ...

ba-ka [bak]
ba-ki [baak]
ba-ku [ba’k] or [ba’ak]
ba-ke [baakel] (under spelled)

See here for a more substantial discussion and, from page 70 on, a partial list of glyphs and glyph blocks.


Emblem Glyph

An 'emblem glyph" is a kind of royal title. It consists of a word ahaw – a Classic Maya term for “lord” of yet unclear etymology but well-attested in Colonial sources [3] – and a place name that precedes the word ahaw and functions as an adjective . An expression “Boston lord” would be a perfect English analogy. Sometimes, the title is introduced by an adjective k’uhul “holy” or “sacred”, just as if someone wanted to say “holy Boston lord”. Of course, an "emblem glyph" is not a "glyph" at all: it can be spelled with any number of syllabic or logographic signs and several alternative spellings are attested for the words k’uhul and ajaw, which form the stable core of the title. The term "emblem glyph" simply reflects the times when mayanists could not read Classic Maya inscriptions and had to come up with some nicknames isolating certain recurrent structural components of the written narratives.


This title was identified in 1958 by Heinrich Berlin [4], who coined the term "emblem glyph". Berlin noticed that the "emblem glyphs" consisted of a larger "main sign"

Tikal or "Mutal" Emblem Glyph, Stela in Tikal's Museum

and two smaller signs now read as "K'uhul Ahaw". Berlin also noticed that while the smaller elements remained relatively constant, the main sign changed from site to site. Berlin proposed that the main signs identified individual cities, their ruling dynasties, or the territories they controlled. Subsequently, Marcus [5] argued that the "emblem glyphs" referred to archaeological sites, whereas Mathews and Justeson,[6] as well as Houston [7] argued once again that the ‘emblem glyphs’ were the titles of Maya rulers with some geographical association. Image File history File links Tikalemblem. ... Image File history File links Tikalemblem. ...


The debate on the nature of "emblem glyphs" received a new spin with the monograph by Stuart and Houston.[8] The authors convincingly demonstrated that there were lots of place names-proper, some real, some mythological, mentioned in the hieroglyphic inscriptions. Some of these place names also appeared in the "emblem glyphs," some were attested in the "titles of origin" (various expressions like “a person from Boston”), but some were not incorporated in personal titles at all. Moreover, the authors also highlighted the cases when the "titles of origin" and the "emblem glyphs" did not overlap, building upon an earlier research by Houston. [9] Houston noticed that the establishment and spread of the Tikal-originated dynasty in the Petexbatun region was accompanied by the proliferation of rulers using the Tikal "emblem glyph" placing political and dynastic ascendancy above the current seats of rulership. [10]


History

It was until recently thought that the Maya may have adopted writing from the Olmec or Epi-Olmec. However, recent discoveries have pushed back the origin of Mayan writing by several centuries, and it now seems possible that the Maya were the ones who invented writing in Mesoamerica.[11] Monument 1, one of the four Olmec colossal heads at La Venta. ... Epi-Olmec (after Olmec) is a Mesoamerican writing system in use in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from perhaps 500 BCE to 500 CE, although there is disagreement on these dates. ...


Knowledge of the Maya writing system continued into the early colonial era and reportedly a few of the early Spanish priests who went to Yucatán learned it. However, as part of his campaign to eradicate pagan rites, Bishop Diego de Landa ordered the collection and destruction of written Maya works, and a sizeable number of Maya codices were destroyed. Later, seeking to use their native language to convert the Maya to Christianity, he derived what he believed to be a Maya "alphabet" (the so-called de Landa alphabet). Although the Maya did not actually write alphabetically, nevertheless he recorded a glossary of Maya sounds and related symbols, which was long dismissed as nonsense but eventually became a key resource in deciphering the Maya script, though it has itself not been completely deciphered. The difficulty was that there was no simple correspondence between the two systems, and the names of the letters of the Spanish alphabet meant nothing to Landa's Maya scribe, so Landa ended up asking the equivalent of write H: a i tee cee aitch "aitch", and glossed a part of the resulting spoken words as "H". Yucatán is the name of one of the 31 states of Mexico, located on the north of the Yucatán Peninsula. ... Diego de Landa Calderón (1524 – 1579) was Bishop of Yucatán. ... Maya codices (singular codex) are books written by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, using the Maya hieroglyphic script. ... Reproduction of the page from Diego de Landas Relacíon de las cosas de Yucatán, which gives a purported correspondence between letters of the Spanish alphabet and Maya glyphs, and which has become known as the de Landa alphabet The de Landa alphabet is the correspondence of Spanish... Decipherment is the analysis of documents written in ancient languages, where the language is unknown, or knowledge of the language has been lost. ...


Landa was also involved in creating a Latin orthography for the Yukatek Maya language, meaning that he created a system for writing Yukatek in the Latin alphabet. This was the first Latin orthography for any of the Mayan languages,[citation needed] which number around thirty. The orthography of a language specifies the correct way of writing in that language. ... Yukatek Maya (in the revised orthography of the Academia de Lenguas Mayas, now preferred by scholars; also frequently Yucatec) is a Mayan language spoken in the Yucatán Peninsula, northern Belize and parts of Guatemala. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ...


Only four Maya codices are known to have survived the conquistadors. Most surviving texts are found on pottery recovered from Maya tombs, or from monuments and stelae erected in sites which were abandoned or buried before the arrival of the Spanish. Maya codices (singular codex) are books written by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, using the Maya hieroglyphic script. ... The Taj Mahal, commissioned by the Muslim Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, as a mausoleum for his wife, Arjumand Banu Begum. ... Stele is also a concept in plant biology. ...


Knowledge of the writing system was lost, probably by the end of the 16th century. Renewed interest in it was sparked by published accounts of ruined Maya sites in the 19th century. The pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica left a great number of archaeological sites in what are now the nations of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Decipherment

The decipherment of the writing was a long and laborious process. Nineteenth century and early 20th century investigators managed to decode the Maya numbers and portions of the texts related to astronomy and the Maya calendar, but understanding of most of the rest long eluded scholars. In the 1960s progress revealed the dynastic records of Maya rulers. Since the early 1980s it has been demonstrated that most of the previously unknown symbols form a syllabary, and progress in reading the Maya writing has advanced rapidly since. The Pre-Columbian Maya civilization used a vigesimal (base-20) numeral system. ... A giant Hubble mosaic of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant Astronomy is the science of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earths atmosphere (such as auroras and cosmic background radiation). ... The Maya calendar is actually a system of distinct calendars and almanacs used by the Maya civilization of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, and by some modern Maya communities in highland Guatemala. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... The 1980s refers to the years from 1980 to 1989. ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ...


The Maya may seem to have inherited some elements, and perhaps the entire basis, of their ancient writing system from the Olmecs,[12] which was significantly modified and expanded by the Maya of the Pre-Classic era. Pre-Classic texts are less numerous and less well understood by archaeologists than the later Classic and Post-Classic texts. (However, the Isthmian (or Epi-Olmec) script once thought of as a possible direct ancestor of the Mayan script is now known to be several centuries too recent, and may instead be a descendant.) Other related and nearby Mesoamerican cultures of the period were also heirs to the Olmec writing system, and developed parallel systems which shared key attributes (such as the base-twenty numerical system written with a system of bars and dots). However, it is generally believed that the Maya developed the only complete writing system in Mesoamerica, meaning that they were the only civilization that could write everything they could say. Monument 1, one of the four Olmec colossal heads at La Venta. ... Upper right corner of the back of the mask uncovered by Coe and Houston. ... A numeral is a symbol or group of symbols, or a word in a natural language that represents a number. ... The cultural areas of Mesoamerica Mesoamerica or Meso-America (Spanish: Mesoamérica) was a geographical culture area extending from central Honduras and northwestern Costa Rica on the south, and, in Mexico, from the Soto la Marina River in Tamaulipas and the Rio Fuerte in Sinaloa on the north. ...


The linguistic breakthroughs

What was only in retrospect widely recognized as a major breakthrough was made by Yuri Knorosov in the 1950s, when he published a paper arguing that the so-called "de Landa alphabet" contained in Bishop Diego de Landa's manuscript Relación de las Cosas de Yucatán was actually made of syllabic, rather than alphabetic symbols. As Knorosov's early essays contained few new readings, and the Soviet editors added propagandistic claims to the effect that Knorosov was using a peculiarly "Marxist-Leninist" approach to decipherment, many Western Mayanists simply dismissed Knorosov's work. However, in the 1960s more came to see the syllabic approach as potentially fruitful, and possible phonetic readings for symbols whose general meaning was understood from context began to be developed. Prominent older epigrapher J. Eric S. Thompson was one of the last major opponents of Knorosov and the syllabic approach. Thompson's disagreements are sometimes said to have held back advances in decipherment.[13] Yuri Valentinovich Knorosov (Russian: Юрий Валентинович Кнорозов; b. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... Diego de Landa (1524 - 1579) was Bishop of the Yucatán. ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... A Specimen of typeset fonts and languages, by William Caslon, letter founder; from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ... Soviet redirects here. ... Marxism takes its name from the praxis (the synthesis of philosophy and political action) of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. ... Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism refers to various related political and economic theories elaborated by Bolshevik revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin, and by other theorists who claim to be carrying on Lenins work. ... Mayanist is a term which has been in widespread use from the late 19th century onwards, to refer to scholars who have specialised in research and study of the Central American pre-Columbian Maya civilization. ... John Eric Sidney Thompson (31 December 1898 - 9 September 1975) was an English archeologist and epigrapher, perhaps the most eminent student of pre-Columbian Maya civilization of the mid 20th century. ...


However, it was the combination of the work of Knorosov with a historically-oriented approach first outlined by Russian-American scholar Tatiana Proskouriakoff that truly set in motion the winds of change in Maya decipherment. In 1959, examining what she called "a peculiar pattern of dates" on stone monument inscriptions at the Classic Maya site of Piedras Negras, Proskouriakoff determined that these represented events in the life-span of an individual, rather than relating to religion, astronomy, or prophecy, as held by the "old school" exemplified by Thompson. This proved to be true of many Maya inscriptions, and revealed the Maya epigraphic record to be one relating actual histories of ruling individuals: dynastic histories similar in nature to those recorded in literate human cultures throughout the world. Suddenly, the Maya entered written history.[14] Tatiana Proskouriakoff (1909-1985) was a Mayanist. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Piedras Negras is the modern name for a ruined city of the Pre-Columbian Maya civilization located on the north bank of the Usumacinta River in the Peten department of Guatemala. ... Epigraphy (Greek, επιγραφή - written upon) is the study of inscriptions engraved into stone or other permanent materials, or cast in metal, the science of classifying them as to cultural context and date, elucidating them and assessing what conclusions can be deduced from them. ...


Although it was now clear what was on many Maya inscriptions, they still could not literally be read. However, further progress was made during the 1960s and 1970s, using a multitude of approaches including pattern analysis, de Landa's "alphabet," Knorosov's breakthroughs, and others. In the story of Maya decipherment, the work of archaeologists, art historians, epigraphers, linguists, and anthropologists cannot be separated. All contributed to a process that was truly and essentially multidisciplinary. Key figures included David Kelley, Ian Graham, Gilette Griffin, and Michael Coe. Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from Greek: αρχαίος, archae, ancient; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... Anthropology is the study of the physical and social characteristics of humanity through the examination of historical and present geographical distribution, cultural history, acculturation, and cultural relationships. ... Michael D. Coe (b. ...


Dramatic breakthroughs occurred in the 1970's - in particular, at the first Mesa Redonda de Palenque, a scholarly conference organized by Merle Greene Robertson at the Classic Maya site of Palenque held in December, 1973. A working group was led by Linda Schele, an art historian and epigrapher at the University of Texas at Austin, which included Floyd Lounsbury, a linguist from Yale, and Peter Mathews, then an undergraduate student of David Kelley's at the University of Calgary (whom Kelley sent because he could not attend). In one afternoon they managed to decipher the first dynastic list of Maya kings - the ancient kings of the city of Palenque. By identifying a sign as an important royal title (now read as the recurring name k'inich), the group was able to identify and "read" the life histories (from birth, to accession to the throne, to death) of six kings of Palenque. Merle Greene Robertson (foreground), taken in 1986 at Palenque, during a Mesa Redonda (Round Table) conference. ... The Palace, Ruins of Palenque Palenque is a Maya archeological site near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas, located at about 130 km south of Ciudad del Carmen (see map). ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Linda Schele (1942 - 18 April 1998 was a noted expert in the field of Maya epigraphy and iconography. ... The University of Texas at Austin, often called UT or Texas, is a doctoral/research university located in Austin, Texas. ... Dr. Floyd Glenn Lounsbury (April 25, 1914 - May 14, 1998) was an American linguist, anthropologist and Mayanist scholar and epigrapher, best known for his work on linguistic and cultural systems of a variety of North and South American languages. ... “Yale” redirects here. ... The University of Calgary is a public university located in the north-western quadrant of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. ...


From that point, progress proceeded at an exponential pace, not only in the decipherment of the Maya glyphs, but also towards the construction of a new, historically-based understanding of Maya civilization. The "old school" continued to resist the results of the new scholarship for some time. A decisive event which helped to turn the tide in favor of the new approach occurred in 1986, at an exhibition entitled "The Blood of Kings: A New Interpretation of Maya Art". It was organized by InterCultura and the Kimbell Art Museum and curated by Schele and Yale art historian Mary Miller. This exhibition and attendant catalogue - and international publicity - revealed to a wide audience the new world which had latterly been opened up by progress in decipherment of Maya hieroglyphics. Not only could a real history of ancient America now be read and understood, but the light it shed on the material remains of the Maya showed them to be real, recognisable individuals. They stood revealed as a people with a history like that of all other human societies: full of wars, dynastic struggles, shifting political alliances, complex religious and artistic systems, expressions of personal property and ownership, and so forth. Moreover, the new interpretation, as the exhibition demonstrated, made sense out of many works of art whose meaning had been unclear, and showed how the material culture of the Maya represented a fully-integrated cultural system and world view. Gone was the old Thompson view of the Maya as peaceable astronomers without conflict or other attributes characteristic of most human societies. 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... InterCultura, Inc. ... The Kimbell Art Museum is situated in the Cultural District of Fort Worth, Texas. ... Mary Miller is the master of Saybrook College at Yale University and the Vincent Scully Professor of the History of Art. ...


However, three years later in 1989, a final counter-assault was launched by supporters who were still resisting the modern decipherment interpretation. This occurred at a conference at Dumbarton Oaks. It did not directly attack the methodology or results of decipherment, but instead contended that the ancient Maya texts had indeed been read but were "epiphenomenal". This argument was extended from a populist perspective to say that the deciphered texts tell us only about the concerns and beliefs of the society's elite, and not about the ordinary Maya. Michael Coe in opposition to this idea described "epiphenomenal" as: 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Dumbarton Oaks is a nineteenth-century mansion located in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC. It houses the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, a leading center for scholarship in Byzantine studies, Pre-Columbian studies and the history of landscape architecture. ...

  • a ten penny word meaning that Maya writing is only of marginal application since it is secondary to those more primary institutions - economics and society - so well studied by the dirt archaeologists.

Linda Schele noted following the conference that this is like saying that the inscriptions of ancient Egypt - or the writings of Greek philosophers or historians - do not reveal anything important about their cultures. Most written documents in most cultures tell us about the elite, because in most cultures in the past, they were the ones who could write (or could have things written down by scribes or inscribed on monuments).


Progress in decipherment continues at a rapid pace today, and it is generally agreed by scholars that over 90 percent of the Maya texts can now be read with reasonable accuracy. As of 2004, at least one phonetic glyph was known for each of the syllables marked with a dot in this chart: 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

(’) b' ch ch’ h/j j k k’ l m n p p’ s t t’ tz tz’ w x y
a      
e                
i        
o            
u        

Current leaders in the field of interpreting Maya culture and Maya decipherment include many archaeologists, epigraphers, linguists, and art historians. Key names working at present are:

and many others, including a growing number of scholars in Latin America, in the nations of the Maya area. Dallas Hall at Dedman College at SMU The Laura Lee Blanton Hall during a rare snow Southern Methodist University (also known as SMU) is a nationally recognized, private, coeducational university in University Park, Texas, (an enclave of Dallas). ... Dr. David Stuart (b. ... The University of Texas System comprises fifteen educational institutions in Texas, of which nine are general academic universities, and six are health institutions. ... The main building, viewed from the Hofgarten. ... The Complutense University of Madrid, in Spanish Universidad Complutense de Madrid, is an important Spanish university, located in Madrid. ... This article is about the private Ivy League university in Philadelphia. ... Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Founded in 1636,[2] Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. ... This article needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling. ... Brown University is a private university located in Providence, Rhode Island. ... Arthur Demarest is an anthropologist and archaeologist, known for his studies of the Maya civilization. ... Vanderbilt University is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational research university in Nashville, Tennessee. ... The Pennsylvania State University (commonly known as Penn State) is a state-related, land-grant university. ... Søren Wichmann is a Danish linguist specializing in Mesoamerican languages and epigraphy. ... Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (April 23, 1858 – October 4, 1947 in Göttingen, Germany) was a German physicist. ...   [] (Sorbian/Lusatian: Lipsk) is the largest city in the federal state of Saxony in Germany with a population of over 504,000. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Kettunen, Harri; and Christophe Helmke (2005). Introduction to Maya Hieroglyphs (PDF), Wayeb and Leiden University, 12. Retrieved on 2006-10-10. 
  2. ^ www.authenticmaya.com
  3. ^ Lacadena García-Gallo, A. and A. Ciudad Ruiz (1998). Reflexiones sobre la estructura política maya clásica. Anatomía de una Civilización: Aproximaciones Interdisciplinarias a la Cultura Maya. A. Cuidad Ruiz, M. I. Ponce de León and M. Martínez Martínez. Madrid, Sociedad Española de Estudios Mayas: 31-64.
  4. ^ Berlin, H. (1958). "El Glifo Emblema en las inscripciones Maya." Journal de la Société des Américanistes de Paris 47: 111-119.
  5. ^ Marcus, J. (1976). Emblem and state in the classic Maya Lowlands : an epigraphic approach to territorial organization. Washington, Dumbarton Oaks Trustees for Harvard University.
  6. ^ Mathews, P. (1991). Classic Maya emblem glyphs. Classic Maya Political History: Hieroglyphic and Archaeological Evidence. T. P. Culbert. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 19-29.
  7. ^ Houston, S. D. (1986). Problematic emblem glyphs : examples from Altar de Sacrificios, El Chorro, Río Azul, and Xultun. Washington, D.C., Center for Maya Research.
  8. ^ Stuart, D. and S. D. Houston (1994). Classic Maya place names. Washington, D.C., Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.
  9. ^ Houston, S. D. (1993). Hieroglyphs and history at Dos Pilas : dynastic politics of the Classic Maya. Austin, University of Texas Press
  10. ^ Source: A.Tokovinine(2006)People from a place: re-interpreting Classic Maya "Emblem Glyphs". Paper presented at the 11th European Maya Conference "Ecology, Power, and Religion in Maya Landscapes", Malmö University, Sweden, December 4-9, 2006
  11. ^ See Saturno, et. al. (2006).
  12. ^ Schele and Friedel (1990), Soustelle (1984).
  13. ^ Coe 1992, pp. 125-144
  14. ^ Coe 1992, pp. 167-184

PDF is an abbreviation with several meanings: Portable Document Format Post-doctoral fellowship Probability density function There also is an electronic design automation company named PDF Solutions. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... October 10 is the 283rd day of the year (284th in leap years). ...

References

  • Coe, Michael D. (1992). Breaking the Maya Code. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05061-9. 
  • Saturno, W.A.; Stuart, David, and B. Beltran (Mar 3 2006). "Early Maya writing at San Bartolo, Guatemala". Science 311 (5765): 1281-3. PMID 16400112. 
  • Schele, Linda; and David Friedel (1990). A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya. New York: William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-07456-1. 
  • Schele, Linda; and Mary Ellen Miller [1986] (1992). Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art, Justin Kerr (photographer), reprint edition, New York: George Braziller. ISBN 0-8076-1278-2. 
  • Soustelle, Jacques (1984). The Olmecs: The Oldest Civilization in Mexico. New York: Doubleday and Co. ISBN 0-385-17249-4. 
  • Kettunen, Harri; and Christophe Helmke (2005). Introduction to Maya Hieroglyphs (PDF), Wayeb and Leiden University. Retrieved on 2006-10-10. 

I dont know anything! ... Dr. David Stuart (b. ... Linda Schele (1942 - 18 April 1998 was a noted expert in the field of Maya epigraphy and iconography. ... Linda Schele (1942 - 18 April 1998 was a noted expert in the field of Maya epigraphy and iconography. ... Mary Miller is the master of Saybrook College at Yale University and the Vincent Scully Professor of the History of Art. ... Jacques Soustelle was born in Montpellier, France on 3 February 1912 and died 6 August 1990. ... PDF is an abbreviation with several meanings: Portable Document Format Post-doctoral fellowship Probability density function There also is an electronic design automation company named PDF Solutions. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... October 10 is the 283rd day of the year (284th in leap years). ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Maya script - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2655 words)
Maya writing was called "hieroglyphics" or "hieroglyphs" by early European explorers of the 18th and 19th century who did not understand it but found its general appearance reminisscent of Egyptian hieroglyphs, which the Maya writing system is not related to.
As far as is currently known, the Maya script of the Classic era was primarily used to write two Mayan languages, Cholan (in the central parts of the Maya lands around Palenque and Tikal, and and far south as Copán) and Yucatecan (in the Yucatán Peninsula).
Maya writing consisted of a highly elaborate set of glyphs which were laboriously painted on ceramics, walls or bark-paper codices, carved in wood or stone, or molded in stucco.
Maya civilization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (5347 words)
The Maya civilization is a historical Mesoamerican civilization, which extended throughout the northern Central American region which includes the present-day nations of Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras and El Salvador, as well as the southern Mexican states of Chiapas, Tabasco, and the Yucatán Peninsula states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatán.
With the decipherment of the Maya script it was discovered that the Maya were one of the few civilizations where artists attached their name to their work.
The Maya configured constellations of gods and places, saw the unfolding of narratives in their seasonal movements, and believed that the intersection of all possible worlds was in the night sky.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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