Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The program follows the efforts of archeologists who for more than a century tried to figure out the meaning of symbols, called glyphs, inscribed in Maya ruins in Central America and Mexico.
The late Linda Schele, a professor of art history at the university, provided crucial insights into the glyphs that David Stuart followed up on to break the code.
Stuart, whose parents have been archeologists, began working with Schele when he was 11. He now holds the Linda and David Schele Professor of Mesoamerican Art and Writing at the university.
“When I walked among the buildings of Palenque (a Mayan city in Mexico), I saw a culture where art was central,” Schele says in the program. “And I was really driven to understand who had done it and why and how.”
“Cracking the Code” shows the process of science, how researchers build upon the work of their predecessors. It also uses graphics effectively to manipulate certain key glyphs and show how archeologists arrived at their insights
Schele, who died in 1998, underlined the importance to the Maya of today of cracking the code.
“The glyphs give the Maya 1,500 years of history written in their ancestors’ words, not in the words of white people from Europe.”