Reading the Calendar Glyphs
"Our spoken language and our glyphs are our identity. More and more, Maya people are interested in understanding our history that is recorded in the glyphs. Understanding implies engagement, respect, and appreciation of the legacy of our ancestors."
Stela C of Quiriguá
Standing more than 12 feet (4 meters) high, Stela C in the ancient Maya city of Quiriguá in Guatemala is an impressive monument. This "stone tree" preserves one of the most complete narratives of the creation story of the Maya.
Maya Glyphs are read in paired columns, from left to right and top to bottom. Epigraphers or experts who decipher the meaning of Maya glyphs first transcribe the Maya text, writing the sounds as they would be heard by a Maya speaker. Then, they translate the text to English and other languages.
Instructions for Interactive: Click on the individual glyphs in the Stela C representation to learn more. To read the complete story written on the stela, click on the link at the bottom of the interactive.
* Hieroglyphs were deciphered by Dr. Erik Velásquez of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Learn More about Calendar Glyphs
Monument 6 of Tortuguero, Tasbasco, México
Monument 6 is a stone carved with hieroglyphic inscriptions and Maya calendar dates.
Reading Maya Hieroglyphs
Carol Karasik, epigrapher, reads a few Maya hieroglyphs inside the Temple of the Inscriptions in the archaeological site of Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico.