Maya civilisation used a vigesimal (based on twenty) positional numbering system for math and calendar purposes. Mayan people wrote digits vertically, the most significant position is on the top. Modified numeral system was used for Long Count in Maya calendar. See details below the calculator.
Vigesimal numbering system
The vigesimal numbering system is a positional numbering system, every digit of which is a multiply of power of 20.
E.g. vigesimal number 1.2.3 = 1×202+2×201+3×200=400+40+3=443.
There is evidence of the use of base 20 numbers in many cultures on every continent.
Mayan numerals consist of three symbols:
- zero - a shell,
- one - a dot,
- five - a bar.
Maya wrote numbers from one to four as corresponding number of dots. 5,10,15 - one, two or three bars, 6..9,11..14,16..19 are the combination of dots and bars. Numbers greater than 19 are written as a column of symbols, each representing vigesimal digit, with the highest digit at the top.
Modified Mayan numbering system
For the calendar purposes Maya used modified numbering system, in which the second digit is a number up to 17. So the third digit is a multiply of 360, not 400 as in true vigesimal system. E.g. number 1.2.3 in modified Mayan numbering system would be 1×360+2×201+3×200=360+40+3=403. This system was convenient for recording years (roughly) and days for calendar counting.