Dr. Martha Macri - NAIS Research Now - 2/27/2020
From Jessica Perea
Today there are millions of speakers of Mayan languages in Mexico, and Central America. From at least 150 CE through the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century the Maya used a script composed of word signs and syllabic signs to record astronomical information, mythical history, recent history, and contemporary political events. These records primarily represent a language very close to modern Ch'orti' spoken today in eastern Guatemala. I designed the Maya Hieroglyphic Database to be a searchable resource for all known Maya texts, to be able to study change over time, and to detect dialect differences. Today the database has nearly 85,000 records, each one connected to an image of a glyph block (sometimes representing a single syllable, sometimes several words). With the exception of a few scholars of Maya history, few people realize that the Maya maintained detailed lists of their rulers at hundreds of sites over many generations. Their births, their accessions to power, their marriages and deaths were recorded on stone monuments, murals, painted ceramic vases, and fan-fold books. Far earlier than such history was being recorded in northern Europe, offering a far different picture of Native American abilities and accomplishments than the illiteracy that was first assumed.