Reading Someone Else's Handwriting: The Tikal Hieroglyphs

591 words - 2 pages

Have you ever had trouble reading someone’s handwriting? Occasionally someone’s handwriting is unreadable and requires the reader to figure out what word the writer intended to write. This is the same obstacle discovers found themselves facing when they began to interpret Tikal hieroglyphs. Temples of the Tikal’s Maya people contained many pictures and symbols that archaeologist intended to decipher to unlock the Maya history. Although discoverers believed they had solved the mystery of the Maya once the hieroglyphs were analyzed, many questions remain unanswered because deciphering tools were lost and their interpretations of the hieroglyphs were inaccurate.
Discoverers believed to have solved the mystery of the Maya when archeologists J.Eric Thompson, after conducting many excavations, concluded the people of Tikal were intellectual cosmologist. After his analysis the Maya people were thought to be peaceful and free from conflicts. His interpretations of the hieroglyphs also lead him to believe the Tikal was used as a ceremonial site by the spiritual Maya people. As studies of the Maya people continued translation of the hieroglyphs went undisputed as experts believed the mystery was beginning to unravel.
Another example that shows that discoverers believed they had solved the mystery of the Maya is discovery of a counting system. Researchers began noticing a connection between of dots and bars found in the hieroglyphs on stelae scattered in the Maya region. They were able to correlate the pictures to numbers in a long count system. The Maya used a 20 base system written as the number of days since the start of the era to date of the creation of the stelae. Upon further research they found this system related to the Gregorian calendar which explained how the Maya keep track of time. This discovery of the Maya calendar furthered researchers knowledge of the hieroglyph meaning exposing more of...

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