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Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 4 months ago

 Amanda B.

Mayan Mathematics

        The mayan indians had a very unique mathematical system that was based on 20 or vigesimal, instead of our now a day base 10. The mayans numbers were elegantly made of only three symbols that were written according to place value. The numbers that were equal or greater than twenty were written vertically, using places with increasing powers of twenty. example:1, 20, 400, 8000, 16000, etc. The numbers less than twenty were written in a base 5, additive system. Maya numbers can be added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided using algorithims that are very similar to our base-10 math. The mayan number system was a system of bar and dot, using "shorthand" counting. A dot was one and a bar was worth five, but to represent zero they used a shell shape. Also sometimes they would use a head symbol to represent twenty. Mayan numbers were written from top to bottom, unlike our numbers being written from left to right.  Mayan merchants often used cocao beans, in which they layed out on the ground, to do these calculations.

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