By Jodie Griesbach and
Instead of having the The dots and bars are
base number 10, the repeated as many times
Mayans used 20 as their as needed to create the
base. desired number.
They also wrote the This made it easy to write
numbers upwards, as very large numbers
opposed to left to right. without having to
The Mayans also used a remember many symbols.
system of bars and dots
as characters in this
The Mayans developed a
symbol roughly equivalent
to our zero.
Their use of this number is
similar to our use of 0 to
change 1 to 10. In other
words place notation gives
the zero its value in the
This symbol also stands for
completion when used in
their system of written
language, or hieroglyphics.
Symbols and Base System
Having a numerical system
like this also allowed the
Mayans to accurately record
The fairly simple system then
allowed them to divide the
recorded time evenly and
The Mayan calendar was so
precise due to their advanced
mathematics and astronomy,
it was even more accurate
than our modern calendar.
More complicated mathematics contributed to their ability to construct
The angle of the slopes and stairs were carefully calculated so that the
pyramids would be stable and survive weathering.
Not only would they remain standing, mathematics were used to create
beautiful structures such as, ledges, staircases, and the dome design
that they used in their observatory.
The Observatory Dome
The dome was created by evenly and
carefully staggering the small, irregular bricks
inward all the way to the top of the structure.
World Studies Center. The Maya Stela. Crimson, New
Field Enterprises Educational Corp. The World Book
Encyclopedia. Chicago, Illinois. 1995