Ancient Maya Arithmetic

maya arithmetic

The ancient Maya used a mathematical system that is “vigesimal.” A vigesimal counting system is based on 20 units (0 – 19), instead of the 10 unit (0 – 9) based counting system that we use today called the decimal system. The decimal mathematical system widely used today is believed to have possibly originated by counting the number of fingers that the average person has. Counting with our fingers gives us our ten unit based metric system. It is believed that the Maya possibly began counting with both their fingers…

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The ‘Four Slave’ Example How the Maya count to 8000

Four Slave

The ancient Maya used a mathematical system that is “vigesimal.” A vigesimal counting system is based on 20 units (0 – 19), instead of the 10 unit (0 – 9) based counting system that we use today called the decimal system. The vigesimal counting system used by the ancient Maya made counting high numbers extremely easy, even when one could not count very well – or at all. In the “Four Slave” example, we make the assumption that the ancient-era individual counting is using the fingers and toes of four…

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