Alphabet maya. Calendrier maya. Maya. Once considered an unsolvable enigma, recent advances in the decipherment of the Maya writing system has not only shed light on the mechanics of the script, but also on the socio-political, artistic, and historical aspects of Maya civilization.
As a whole, the Maya people created the longest lasting civilization of the New World. It became distinguishable from other early farming cultures of Mesoamerica in the middle of the first millenium BCE, when the first great Maya cities were constructed. Their culture endured through changes, wars, and disasters until it was suppressed by the Spanish conquest in the 16th and 17th centuries.