Breaking the Maya code

by Michael D. Coe

Book, 2012



Call number

F1435.W75 C64


Publisher Unknown


In the past dozen years, Maya decipherment has made great strides, in part due to the Internet, which has made possible the truly international scope of hieroglyphic scholarship: glyphic experts can be found not only in North America, Mexico, Guatemala, and western Europe but also in Russia and the countries of eastern Europe.The third edition of this classic book takes up the thorny question of when and where the Maya script first appeared in the archaeological record, and describes efforts to decipher its meaning on the extremely early murals of San Bartolo. It includes iconographic and epigraphic investigations into how the Classic Maya perceived and recorded the human senses, a previously unknown realm of ancient Maya thought and perception.There is now compelling documentary and historical evidence bearing on the question of why and how the "breaking of the Maya code" was the achievement of Yuri V. Knorosov--a Soviet citizen totally isolated behind the Iron Curtain--and not of the leading Maya scholar of his day, Sir Eric Thompson. What does it take to make such a breakthrough, with a script of such complexity as the Maya? We now have some answers, as Michael Coe demonstrates here.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member jsoos
Wow. This has to be one of the most readable academic volumes I have ever encountered. Coe's writing style is friendly, engaging, and even humorous at times. He provides a very thorough and well organized history of the decipherment of the Mayan glyphs. Part history, part biography (of many, many -
Show More
maybe all individuals involved in the subject), and part scuttlebutt - Coe walks us through the key events and persons involved in the lengthy and distributed efforts to decipher the glyphs.

This volume is worth reading for anyone with even the remotest interest in language, archeology or epigraphy - it is just so engaging!

This volume is worth reading for anyone seriously interested in the topic of Mayan glyphs due to its extensive bibliograpy and references.
Show Less
LibraryThing member kutsuwamushi
Interesting, but complicated, subject matter. This is not the simplified story that was shown on the PBS special.

I enjoyed it, but it might not be that great for someone without an interest in linguistics or language. Its major flaw, I think, is that the author has tried to find a middle ground
Show More
between being too technical and being too vague, and has ended up with something that can be both. It's not textbook rigorous, but it might be a little too complicated for someone without any linguistic background. Despite his attempts to explain all the concepts, they are pretty complicated and come at you fast.
Show Less
LibraryThing member comixminx
Very interesting! Particularly in the later sections as you find out more about the Maya - for instance the fact that they seemed to love 'tagging' everything with their names. 'His cup, his bowl', fine, but also 'his bone' (inscribed on a bit of bone in a tomb) and so on.

Now I want to read the
Show More
updated version to find out what the research in this area since 1994 has revealed.
Show Less

Original publication date




Similar in this library

Page: 0.1261 seconds