Nova (1974– )
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Cracking the Maya Code 

Nova examines the fascinating history behind the scientific effort to decode the Mayan writing system.


David Lebrun


Michael D. Coe (book) (as Dr. Michael D. Coe), David Lebrun


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Episode credited cast:
Michael D. Coe Michael D. Coe ... Himself - Author, 'Breaking the Maya Code' (as Dr. Michael D. Coe)
William L. Fash William L. Fash ... Himself - Archeologist, Harvard University
Gillett Griffin Gillett Griffin ... Himself - Art Historian, Princeton University
Nicholas Hopkins Nicholas Hopkins ... Himself - Linguist, Florida State University
Stephen D. Houston Stephen D. Houston ... Himself - Archeologist, Brown University
Kathryn Josserand Kathryn Josserand ... Herself - Linguist, Florida State University
Barbara MacLeod Barbara MacLeod ... Herself - Linguist and Anthropologist
Simon Martin Simon Martin ... Himself - Epigrapher - University of Pennsylvania Museum
Peter Mathews Peter Mathews ... Himself - Epigrapher, La Trobe University
Lolmay Garcia Matzar Lolmay Garcia Matzar ... Himself - Linguist, OKMA Language Center
Jay O. Sanders ... Himself - Narrator
Linda Schele Linda Schele ... Herself - Epigrapher, University of Texas, Austin
David Stuart David Stuart ... Himself - Epigrapher, University of Texas at Austin
George Stuart George Stuart ... Himself - Historian


Nova examines the fascinating history behind the scientific effort to decode the Mayan writing system.

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8 April 2008 (USA) See more »

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User Reviews

CRACKING The MAYA Code...Speaks a Universal Language to its Viewers!
31 July 2016 | by KissEnglishPastoSee all my reviews

..........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA...and ORLANDO, FL

Mayan civilization was cohesive and dynamic for 3 thousand years. From before 2,000 B.C. until about 900 A.D. In the ancient world, the only civilization trumping it in longevity is the Egyptian. From about the time the Roman Empire began its century long disintegration, late in the 4th Century A.D., until about 880 A.D., a period lasting half a millennium, the Mayans were probably the most advanced culture/civilization on the planet! You don't have to have a degree in linguistics, as I do, to watch this documentary and have it work a phantasmagorical spell on you, but it certainly would help.

It took European and American scholars the better part of 2 centuries to decipher the Mayan language. In its written form, it is undoubtedly one of the most subtle, unique and complex languages in human history! This is the only area of human endeavor where I can declare, unequivocally, "I am an EXPERT!" Although I only obtained a B.A. in Linguistics, I have been involved in offering and implementing language skill acquisition courses since June 1972. I thought it was of consummate interest that the researcher most responsible for unlocking the secrets of the Mayan language was exposed to it constantly from 4 years of age! This clearly demonstrates the nearly unlimited scope of the innate ability children possess to decipher ANY language, provided they are exposed to it constantly from a very early age.

This PBS/NOVA documentary takes us on a step by step journey, lasting nearly 2 centuries, where each researcher who has made contributions to solving the Mayan enigma is respectfully given his or her due. Out of 50 Friends ratings and glancing at 50 other reviews, I notice my 10* rating is almost unique, so I'm not holding my breath for any of you...but I do notice a lot of 7* and 8* ratings. This is an excellent documentary and if the subject matter piques your interest, I feel 7* to 9* would be a realistic projection for the vast majority of you!


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