Essay On Mayan Number System

Topics: Mathematics, Number, Decimal, Standard deviation, Real number, Numeral system / Pages: 3 (587 words) / Published: Dec 11th, 2015
“Mesoamerican Vigesimal Number System” In the modern world we use a number system based on ten with a symbol representing zero to nine. Numbers are written horizontally with each number place representing that the number value has exceeded the value of the number place to the right. The Mayans or Mesoamericans used a twenty based number system that is written vertically. According to the Mayans numerical system one dot is equal to one and instead of writing five dots for the number five a line replaces the dots. As you continue to count you place dots six through nine above the line that equals five. This repeats with dots sixteenth to nineteenth. “This works up to nineteen, but rather than twenty being four lines, they started a new count above the first one. Zero is represented by a shell. So twenty is a single dot above a shell. This stacking of numbers rather than having them in a line …show more content…
“The great advantage of the positional system is that you need only a limited number of symbols (the Mayans only had two, plus their symbol for zero) and you can represent any whole number, however big.” (Mayans Numbers) It would be an odd sight to see a calculator with only three numerical figure and a vertical screen made to fit in numbers. Our very units of measurements would be completely changed by any kind of numerical shifts. Mathematics itself would get a complete make over in the way that we solve add, rewrite equation, subtract, multiple, and divide. The economy would be a good bit different then it currently is with currency and accounting. Simply math would be easier to learn, but it would probably take a bit longer for an understanding behind the lines and the dots set in and take root. Besides changes in our education and numerical part of our lives the twenty base system is so similar to that of the 10 base system that the difference is not as great as one might

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