There are many things that are remembered about the cultures of the Aztec’s, the Incas, and the Mayans, but mostly what is remembered is the bloody history of these three powerful Meso-American groups.
For the Mayans, the Long Count Calendar is also one of these famous attributes. The Long Count Calendar has become increasingly famous in recent years because of the Mayan prediction that the world would end at the end of the year 2012. The Long Count Calendar was created using mathematics and astronomy, and was incredibly accurate, much more so than the previous calendars used by the Mayans. (Mayan Scientific Achievements)
The Aztecs also created an incredibly accurate calendar. Their calendar was created using a mix of math and astronomy, just like the Mayan calendar was. They used this calendar to know when to plant and harvest crops and when good hunting seasons were. However, the Aztecs also independently came up with the concept of “zero” in their numbering systems. Without the realization that “zero” is not just a placeholder, but an actual entity, advanced mathematics is not possible. And without advanced math, astronomy wouldn’t exist. (History of Zero)
The Incas were also very good at math and astronomy. So good, in fact, that they created a calculator. It was nothing like the handheld calculators you see in stores now, this calculator was made of stone, and was twenty by thirty centimeters. The Incas used small stones or kernels as the counting pieces, and moved pieces around to complete the math problem. The calculator, called a yupana (or “counting tool” in Quechua) was very accurate. (Jacobs, 2012)
It is hard to believe that societies many people have always thought of as bloodthirsty were actually quite intelligent. Because of the mathematical discoveries made by these early people, they were able to build many lastly monuments. These monuments are especially important when so much of their culture has disappeared from time.