The Mesoamerican abacus is called a “Nepohualtzintzin.” The arrangement of the Maya Abacus, or Nepohualtzintzin, is with seven beads (or balls or cacao beans) of two colors per level. Four of the beads are of one color, representing single units; and three of the beads are another color, representing five single units on the same level. The value of one of the four beads are single unit sums which are equal to the sum of all the units of one level below it. On the Maya abacus, the first level’s sum is twenty…

Read More# Category: Maya Math

## The Ancient Maya Concept of Fractions

The word fractions comes from “fractus,” the Latin word for broken. It represents a part of a whole or any number of equal parts of the whole. Broken or fractured from the whole. A common, vulgar, or simple fraction consists of an integer numerator, which is displayed above a line (or before a slash), and a non-zero integer denominator, displayed below (or after) that line. The numerator represents a number of equal parts and the denominator indicates how many of those parts make up a whole. For example, in the…

Read More## Maya Math – The Grid System

Learning Maya mathematics is easy if you use the grid system to count and do your arithmetic. The “Grid System” is basically what it sounds like. You use a system of grids to do your addition and subtraction. The grid system works extremely well in the Maya stacked vigesimal system. This is also a wonderful exercise tool that can be used to teach Maya numbers, adding and subtraction, and help to better to better understand the Maya counting system in general. You start by making a simple grid. You can make…

Read More## Counting the Maya Way – The Finger Method

Simple calculations can be made using your fingers with the Maya vertical vigesimal system without grids, beans, or bars. If we were conducting trade or simply needed to do some simple and quick math, gathering slaves to help count using their fingers and toes is not very convenient. Plus, what if we were a lower status merchant or priest and didn’t have any slaves to help us count. Making a quick “grid system” on the ground would work, but we’d still have to gather sticks and stones to do the…

Read More## The Ancient Maya understood Value of Zero

The ancient Maya had discovered, understood, and used zero. They usually represented the value of zero or null with the symbol of an ovular shell. The Long Count calendar requires the use of a zero as a place holder within its vigesimal numerical system. There have been many different glyphs that were used as a zero symbol by different scribes for marking Long Count dates. Glyph writing was a respected form of art to the Maya. At Chiapa de Corzo, Mexico, the earliest known use of glyphs being used as…

Read More## Ancient 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…

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

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…

Read More## Maya Math Simplified

Maya Math Simplified by Njord Kane The Mystery of Maya Math Code is solved and simplified! Presented in a manner that is not long winded by explaining centuries of theories regarding ancient mathematics, Maya philosophy, and history. This book jumps straight into the Maya mathematical system in a simplified and easy to understand manner. There are many books already out there regarding the Maya, their history and all about their calenders. This book is not about Maya history or prophecies about the end of the World. This book is about…

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