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Day Symbols of the Maya Year Sixteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1894-1895, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1897, pages 199-266.   By: (1825-1910)

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In "Day Symbols of the Maya Year," Cyrus Thomas presents a comprehensive analysis of the ancient Maya civilization's intricate calendrical system. Published as part of the Sixteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Thomas's work provides a valuable contribution to the field of archaeology and ethnography.

The book begins with a succinct introduction, outlining the author's intentions and the significance of studying the Maya calendar. Thomas delves into the historical context, emphasizing the importance of understanding Indigenous cultures and their complex belief systems. He references previous research and acknowledges the limitations of his own study, setting a transparent foundation for his work.

The core of the book is dedicated to analyzing the day symbols within the Maya year. Thomas meticulously deciphers the intricate system of glyphs, tracing their historical development and uncovering their intended meanings. He breaks down each day symbol, elucidating its origins and illustrating its representation in Maya art and hieroglyphic writing. Thomas' writing style is both informative and engaging, making it accessible to a wide range of readers.

One of the book's strengths is the inclusion of numerous diagrams and illustrations, which significantly enhance understanding of the complex Maya calendrical system. Thomas effectively employs visual aids to guide the reader through his explanations, making the information more digestible and visually captivating.

Furthermore, Thomas provides thoughtful interpretations of how the Maya used these day symbols within their societal and religious practices. He illustrates the extensive role the calendar played in the Maya worldview, highlighting its influence on agriculture, astronomical observations, and sacred rituals. This comprehensive approach helps readers grasp the broader cultural significance of the day symbols and their relevance to everyday life in ancient Maya society.

While the book is undoubtedly a valuable resource, it does have certain limitations. Published over a century ago, "Day Symbols of the Maya Year" lacks more recent archaeological findings and scholarly advancements in the field of Maya studies. However, this does not detract from the book's intrinsic value as a foundational work that paved the way for further research.

In conclusion, Cyrus Thomas's "Day Symbols of the Maya Year" is a valuable contribution to the study of the Maya civilization's calendrical system. Thomas's meticulous analysis, accompanied by helpful illustrations, offers a comprehensive understanding of the day symbols and their cultural significance. Despite its age, this work remains an essential read for anyone interested in the ancient Maya culture or the broader field of archaeology.

First Page:

Transcriber's Note

This paper is an extract from the following publication:

Powell, J. W. 1897 Sixteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology. pp. 199 266. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

The index was extracted from the complete volume index.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation and spelling have been maintained, along with two typographical errors. The typographical errors are marked with [TN ] in the text. A complete list of inconsistencies and errors is found at the end of this paper.

The original publication used characters which are not available in the character set used in this version of the text. They have been replaced with the following codes:

[c] open o [=h] h with stroke





Page Introductory 205 The first day 207 The second day 215 The third day 221 The fourth day 226 The fifth day ... Continue reading book >>

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