Maya math was the most sophisticated number system ever developed in the Americas. It allowed scholars, astronomers, and architects to make complex calculations, but it was simple enough to be used by market traders and illiterate farmers.
Where we use ten different symbols to represent numbers (1, 2, 3, 4 , 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0), the Maya used only three: a dot for a one, a bar for five, and a symbol (usually a shell) for zero. (The Maya were the first civilization to discover and understand the concept of zero.) Below are the Maya numbers from 0–19: