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Guided by their religious ritual, the Maya also made significant advances in mathematics and astronomy, including the use of the zero and the development of complex calendar systems like the Calendar Round, based on 365 days, and later, the Long Count Calendar, designed to last over 5,000 years.
Pyramids were used not only as temples and focal points for Maya religious practices where offerings were made to the gods but also as gigantic tombs for deceased rulers, their partners, sacrificial victims, and precious goods.
The Great Pyramid of Cholula
The Maya believed that when people died, they entered the Underworld through a cave or a cenote. When kings died, they followed the path linked to the cosmic movement of the sun and fell into the Underworld; but, because they possessed supernatural powers, they were reborn into the Sky World and became gods.
There were many books in existence at the time of the Spanish conquest of Yucatán in the 16th century; most were destroyed by the Catholic priests. Many in Yucatán were ordered destroyed by Bishop Diego de Landa in July 1562.
The codices were probably written no earlier than the twelfth century A.D., but the Maya may have copied books that were written much earlier. According to archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni, the codices were used to set dates for rituals, often by linking them to astronomical events.
Reverend Diego de Landa
They are commonly called the Dresden, the Madrid and the Paris Codices (named for the cities where they are currently kept), and the Grolier (named for the Grolier Club of New York City, where it was first exhibited).
The Mayan Code shows how the time cycles of the Calendar match important periods in the evolutionary data banks of Earth and the Milky Way Galaxy. These stages of evolution converged during the final stage of the Calendar, the period between 1999 and 2011.
History of the Maya writing system Maya writing was in use in the Maya area from about 300 BC (when we see it in the murals of a site called San Bartolo in Guatemala) to the 16th century when the Spanish Conquistadors mention it in their reports.
Although there are around 1,000 different symbols in the Maya script, scribes of any one period used a range of between 300 to 500 signs. Despite the fact that there are only five vowels and nineteen consonants in the Maya language, there are actually 200 syllabic signs.
Maya mythology describes serpents as being the vehicles by which celestial bodies, such as the sun and stars, cross the heavens. The shedding of their skin made them a symbol of rebirth and renewal. They were so revered, that one of the main Mesoamerican deities, Quetzalcoatl, was represented as a feathered serpent.