Science And Technology

    The Mayans developed a variety of technology throughout their history. In fact, they are considered one of the most scientifically advanced societies in Mesoamerica. Amongst other accomplishments, they created a variety of weapons (including spears, clubs and blades) with very little to no metal; instead, they used brittle minerals such as obsidian and chert. Additionally, they successfully made bows and arrows, though these tools were rarely used.

    The Mayans also were skilled at mathematics; they created a numerical system, based upon the numeral 20 (as opposed to our own, which is based on the number 10). Furthermore, they independently developed the concept of zero and positional value, even before the Romans did. This especially sets them apart as capable mathematicians, as few ancient societies mastered this abstract notion before them.

    Their ability to do complicated math and understand abstract ideas also allowed them to develop complex, highly accurate calendars, even predicting solar and lunar eclipses (amongst other celestial happenings). These were a major part of their culture and were used for many purposes in everyday Mayan life.

    The Mayans also had a writing system, known as Mayan hieroglyphics (not for any true relation to the Egyptian hieroglyphics, but rather because they were thought similar in appearance). This script had over 1000 characters. The Mayans also had writing tools, usually crafted from animal hair and feathers.

    Finally, and most surprisingly, the hydraulics system of the Mayans was very impressive. Many cities, including Kaminaljuyu, had sophisticated waterways, making use of hydraulic technology to successfully supply water throughout the sprawling communities. This allowed the Mayans to farm with more ease, and was a true innovation within Mesoamerica as a whole.