AAAS MemberCentral Content Preview

To continue reading, please Login or Join now.

Podcast

Michael Coe reads from 'Breaking The Maya Code'

December 20, 2012 | Date Posted: December 20, 2012
Michael Coe reads from 'Breaking The Maya Code'

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in what is now modern day Mexico and central America, they encountered the Mayan civilization. The Maya were a remarkably intelligent people, knowledgeable astronomers, architects of stone step pyramid cities, and creators of a complex symbol-based written language. They were also a culture deeply rooted in ritual, who offered human sacrifices to their gods. The Spaniards quickly went to work converting the Maya to Catholicism.

Their books where all but destroyed by priests and their written language became lost in time. It wasn't until the mid-1800s that the work to decode the Maya script began in earnest. It was an effort that would take until modern times to finally crack.