Breaking the Maya Code

Front Cover
Thames and Hudson, 1993 - American Indian languages - 304 pages
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.

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User Review  - comixminx - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

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User Review  - kutsuwamushi - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

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About the author (1993)

Michael D. Coe is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University. His books include The Maya, Mexico, Breaking the Maya Code, Angkor and the Khmer Civilization, and Reading the Maya Glyphs. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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