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n. One who studies the pre-Columbian Maya.


A Mayanist (Spanish: "mayista") is a scholar specialising in research and study of the Mesoamerican pre-Columbian Maya civilization. This discipline should not be confused with Mayanism, a collection of New Age beliefs about the ancient Maya.

Mayanists draw upon many inter-related disciplines including archaeology, linguistics, epigraphy, ethnology, history, photography/ art, architecture, astronomy and ceramics.

The term Mayanist was coined by parallel with specialized fields studying other historical civilizations; see for example, Egyptologist ( Ancient Egypt) and Assyriologist ( Ancient Mesopotamia). It has been in widespread use from the late 19th century onwards, particularly by those who have studied and contributed to the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphics, the complex and elaborate writing system which was developed by the ancient Maya.

Usage examples of "mayanist".

Sylvanus Morley, a noted Mayanist active in the early 1900s, had derived a formula for the conversion of Mayan dates to dates in the modern calendar, but apparently it had not occurred to him that someone might want to convert from the modern calendar to the Mayan.

The tzolkin and the haab are part of a system of interlocking cycles, known to modern Mayanists as the Calendar Round.

Despite determined opposition from gangs of furious Mayanists the truth which Stirling’s spade had unearthed at Tres Zapotes gradually came out.