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Terms in this set (10) The Mayas used their knowledge of astronomy and mathematics to predict eclipses and the orbit of the planet Venus. They developed a sacred calendar and a 365-day calendar. They also had a system of numbers that used a base of 20 and had a zero.

Vigesimal – Base 20 Number System The Mayan and other Mesoamerican cultures used a vigesimal number system based on base 20, (and, to some extent, base 5), probably originally developed from counting on fingers and toes.

The Ancient Mayans developed the science of astronomy, calendar systems, and hieroglyphic writing. They were also known for creating elaborate ceremonial architecture, such as pyramids, temples, palaces, and observatories. These structures were all built without metal tools.

The Maya civilization (/ˈmaɪə/) was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples, and noted for its logosyllabic script—the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system.

Maya numbers are based around the number 20, so in Maya numbers, 20 is a 1 and a 0. So write a dot for the 1 and leave a gap below it. Then below the gap, draw a clamshell – the Mayan symbol for zero. To write numbers from 21–39, think of them as 20 plus something.

The hieroglyphic writing of the Maya has not been completely deciphered, however, and can still only be interpreted, rather than read. To date nearly 85 percent of known Maya hieroglyphics have been decoded. The Maya considered writing to be a sacred gift from the gods.

Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.