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Old 05-14-2015, 05:16 PM
Malthus is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 18,184
I saw a documentary "Breaking the Maya Code", which was awesome.

It was an account of the ultimately successful, decades-long attempt to decipher the Mayan hieroglyphic language.

The various means used to do so (and it was done in little bits and stages) were ingenious; the cast of characters, amazingly eccentric.

For example: one of the key figures in the decipherment was a fellow who had no relationship to things Maya at all - he was a Soviet soldier in WW2, who happened to come accross, in the flaming wreckage of Berlin, a copy of the existing Mayan codices -- and became obsessed with figuring out how to read them. He had considerable success - but was ignored because he was, after all, a commie Russian in Stalin's Soviet Union in the 1950s - hardly a hotbed of Mayan studies (a fact that was, as explained in the show, actually an advantage - as the giants in Mayan studies at the time were both dead wrong and highly influential).

No ancient aliens or mystic crystal skulls were harmed in the making of this film. Or, indeed, mentioned at all.