The Book of Chilam Balam contains the myths, legends and folklore of the Mayan civilization, as well as abundant insights into the religious ceremonies and cultural heritage of the Maya.
Centuries of lore, written as hieroglyphics upon stone, allowed archaeologists and historians to reconstruct the various beliefs and customs that underpinned Mayan life. The Yucatan peninsula was the crucible of this complex and intricate mythos; it is comprised of prophecies for the Mayan priesthood, spiritual tenets to be observed by worshippers, historical accounts and even medical knowledge. Chilam is the name of the greatest prophet; his words were considered to be directly from the Gods, and were accorded the highest importance in the intensely pious society of the Mayans.
Alongside the translated lore are copies of Mayan drawings and examples of symbols and iconography. The introduction offers a history of the scholarship; how the early European explorers managed to find and translate Mayan writings, and how their efforts were gradually refined by archaeological excavations and discoveries. The famous calendar of the Mayans is also detailed in charts, as is the astronomy which guided the Maya's interpretation of natural phenomena such as eclipses.