The ancient Maya civilization of Central America left behind a riddle: an intricate and mysterious hieroglyphic script carved on stone monuments and painted on pottery and bark books. Because the invading Spanish suppressed nearly all knowledge of how the script worked, unlocking its meaning posed one of archaeology's fiercest challenges. Until now.
The european invasion almost wipped out not only the Mayan people, but also all the historical records and tablets from the ancient Mayan people. What little records that are left are slowley being decipered, and help from the Mexican governement, with the release of "secret Mayan records" is helping.
How did the Mayans have knowledge of the stars, far beyond what was even possible just 100 years ago?
This one-hour program is divided into five chapters. The Forgotten Maya Temples. In 1774, Spanish explorer Jose Calderon rediscovers the temples of Palenque and the ancient hieroglyphs of the Maya, a people whose culture was decimated by the Spanish conquistadors.
A Hidden History. Toiling away in the basement of Harvard's Peabody Museum, archeologist Tatiana Proskouriakoff discovers that Maya monuments contain a decipherable history rather than mere pictures and symbols.
Political Roadblock. Working behind the Iron Curtain, Russian linguist Yuri Knorosov posits that Maya glyphs may represent sounds, but his ideas are discredited in the West.
Child's Play. David Stuart submits his first scholarly paper on glyphs at age 12 and later becomes a major player in Maya studies with his advances in script decipherment.
Cultural Revelations. An image of the ancient Maya comes to life, and their descendants in modern-day Mexico and Central America begin to relearn their lost language and history.