What Did the Maya Track in Ancient Times?

The Maya civilization, which flourished in Mexico and Central America from around 2000 BC to the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, was one of the most advanced and culturally rich societies of ancient times. They were known for their impressive architecture, complex writing system, and intricate mathematical knowledge. But what did the Maya track in ancient times?

Maya Astronomy
One of the most remarkable achievements of the Maya was their knowledge of astronomy. They were able to track celestial movements with incredible precision, allowing them to predict eclipses, solstices, equinoxes and other celestial events. They believed that these events had an impact on their daily lives and used them to plan everything from agricultural activities to religious ceremonies.

The Long Count Calendar
The Maya also developed a sophisticated system of timekeeping that allowed them to track long periods of time. This system is known as the Long Count Calendar and is based on astronomical observations.

It consists of five cycles that together make up a period of 5,125 years. The Long Count Calendar was used to record historical events as well as predict future ones.

Maya Mathematics

Another area in which the Maya excelled was mathematics. They developed a numerical system based on a base 20 (vigesimal) instead of our base 10 (decimal) system. This allowed them to perform complex calculations with ease and accuracy.

They also used mathematics extensively in their architecture and art. For example, they used a mathematical concept known as the golden ratio to create aesthetically pleasing buildings, sculptures and even pottery.

  • Maya Hieroglyphics

Maya Writing System

The Maya also had an advanced writing system that allowed them to record historical events and communicate ideas across vast distances. Their writing consisted of hieroglyphics, which were a combination of pictures and symbols that represented words and concepts.

The Maya writing system was highly complex and was only deciphered in the 20th century. It is still not fully understood, but it has provided valuable insights into Maya culture and society.


In conclusion, the Maya civilization was incredibly advanced for its time. They were able to track celestial movements with precision, develop a complex system of timekeeping, excel in mathematics and create an intricate writing system. All of these achievements allowed them to build a rich and fascinating culture that continues to captivate us today.