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The Computational Geometry of Mayan Pyrite Mirrors

### by

Eric Winges

Among the artifacts found in the ancient Mayan ruins were many
pyrite mirrors. The mirrors are composed of several pieces that were
intelligently fit together to form a complicated geometrical structure.
This structure can be represented as a planar embedding of vertices,
edges, and faces that closely resembles a graph structure called a Voronoi
diagram. Using several different methods, it can be approximated
how close the mirror is to an actual Voronoi diagram, and how far the
vertices would have to be moved to match the structure exactly. The
concept of a Voronoi diagram gives insight into how the mirrors might have
been constructed.

Example of a pyrite mirror from Bonampak, Mexico, AD 600-900

*Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya*

Mary Miller and Simon Martin

Kathleen Berrin, Curator

Thames and Hudson Press, New York, 2004

Advised by Richard Ladner

CSE 403

Wednesday

January 26, 2005

3:30 - 4:20 pm