Select your language

The Hieroglyphic Writing of the Maya

For a people to lose their history is a tragedy; to recover it, a miracle



(fight against)





Dr. Mark Van Stone - How Maya Hieroglyphs are written - Demonstration

Mark Van Stone explains how Maya hieroglyphs are constructed by writing a modern name in phonetic glyphs. Dr. Van Stone is an expert in decipherment and calligraphy, author of "2012 - Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya" and co-author of "Reading the Maya Glyphs" with archaeologist Michael Coe.

You can find his books on amazon, or you can get an inexpensive digital version or a signed copy of his 2012 book from his website



Michael D. Coe: Breaking the Maya Code

For a people to lose their history is a tragedy; to recover it, a miracle.

Breaking the Maya Code is the story of the 200-year struggle to unlock the secrets of the world's last major undeciphered writing system. Based on archaeologist and historian Michael Coe's book of the same title (which The New York Times called "one of the great stories of twentieth century scientific discovery") and filmed in over 40 locations in nine countries, this amazing detective story is filled with false leads, rivalries and colliding personalities. It leads us from the jungles of Guatemala to the bitter cold of Russia, from ancient Maya temples to the dusty libraries of Dresden and Madrid.

The heroes of the story are an extraordinary and diverse group of men and women: an English photographer, a German librarian, a Russian soldier, a California newspaperman, an art teacher from Tennessee, and an 18-year-old boy immersed in the glyphs since early childhood. Surprisingly, the decipherment reveals not peaceful kingdoms but warring city-states in a long struggle for domination. The texts also reveal a strange world of kings and queens who regularly shed and burned their blood to invoke the Vision Serpent, a world shaped by an intricate cosmology that weaves together the lives of humans, the deeds of mythic heroes and the cycles of the planets and the stars.

For the six million Maya alive today, a people who had been cut off from their own extraordinary past, the decipherment is like a time machine - uniting them with their own lost history and opening up an invaluable treasure for all of us.

The 2-hour director’s cut of Breaking the Maya Code was released in March 2008 by Night Fire Films. A 90-minute adaptation of Breaking the Maya Code was released on European television by ARTE France. A 50-minute adaptation was broadcast nationally and internationally on the PBS series NOVA, under the title Cracking the Maya Code. The final step of the project is an outreach campaign including screenings and hieroglyphic writing workshops in Maya communities.

All these editions can not be downloaded for free to put them on a webite. But the following short abstracts give a good insight into the topic.

Published as hard copy book: 1992 by Thames & Hudson, London

1. Introduction 2:34

2. The Maya Script 2:20

3. The Maya Books 3:10

4. The Maya Calendar 2:19

5. Yuri Knorosov 4:08

6. The Collaborators 4:00

7. David Stuart 3:51

8. Coming Home 2:16


1. Introduction


2. The Maya Script


3. The Maya Books


4. The Maya Calendar


5. Yuri Knorosov


6. The Collaborators


7. David Stuart


8. Coming Home


    back to the video survey