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History - Ancient History in depth: The Fall of the Mayan Civilisation

History - Ancient History in depth: The Fall of the Mayan Civilisation

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/cultures/maya_01.shtml

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Unearthing the Mayan Creation Myth Archaeologists who have uncovered two massive carved stucco panels in the Mirador Basin of Gua­temala’s northern rain forest say they are the earliest known representation of the Mayan creation myth, predating other such artifacts by a millennium. According to the researchers, the panels—26 feet long and 20 feet high, with images of monsters, gods, and swimming heroes—date to 300 B.C. They formed the sides of a channel that carried rainwater into a complex system of stepped pools, where it was stored for drinking and agriculture. Idaho State University archaeologist Richard Hansen, who is directing the ongoing excavation, says that the panels’ carved images depict an important scene from the Popol Vuh, a text of the Mayan myth that was first recorded in the 16th century.

Greatest Aztec Image above by Guido Galvani and María Sánchez Vega, courtesy Templo Mayor project, National Institute of Anthropology and History, MexicoPhotographs by Kenneth Garrett and Jesús López On the edge of Mexico City's famed Zócalo plaza, next to the ruins of the Aztec sacred pyramid known as the Templo Mayor, the remains of an animal—perhaps a dog or a wolf—were discovered. It had been dead for 500 years and lay in a stone-lined shaft eight feet deep. It is likely the animal had no name, nor an owner.

Mayan Family The five subfamilies of Mayan languages are: There are numerous ruins of the ancient Mayan civilization in the states of Chiapas and Yucatan, as well as in Guatemala. These archeological sites and the artifacts discovered in them display a highly developed aesthetic sense—in stone sculpture, ceramic work, the casting of precious metals, mosaics, and the carving of crystal and jade—all of these produced without metal tools.

Francisco Pizarro Francisco Pizarro In 1478, Pizarro was born in Trujillo, Spain. It is said that he was a “swine handler” as a boy. That means he performed tricks with pigs. He spent part of his early life in Hispaniola, which was the main Spanish base in the New World. Intense droughts blamed for Mayan collapse - 13 March 2003 The Mayan civilisation of Central America collapsed following a series of intense droughts, suggests the most detailed climatic study to date. The sophisticated society of the Maya centred on large cities on the Yucatán peninsula, now part of Mexico. Their population peaked at 15 million in the 8th century, but the civilisation largely collapsed during the 9th century for reasons that have remained unclear to this day.

Mayan hieroglyphic writing Mayan hieroglyphic writing, system of writing used by the Maya people of Mesoamerica until about the end of the 17th century, 200 years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico. (With the 21st-century discovery of the Mayan site of San Bartolo in Guatemala came evidence of Mayan writing that pushed back its date of origin to at least 300 or 200 bc.) It was the only true writing system developed in the pre-Columbian Americas. Mayan inscriptions are found on stelae (standing stone slabs), stone lintels, sculpture, and pottery, as well as on the few surviving Mayan books, or codices.

Aztecs (Mexica) During the twelfth century AD the Mexica were a small and obscure tribe searching for a new homeland. Eventually they settled in the Valley of Mexico and founded their capital, Tenochtitlan, in 1345. At the beginning of the sixteenth century it was one of the largest cities in the world. HISTORY OF THE MAYA The Maya then and now: from 1500 BC The Maya, occupying the triangle of land framed by the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, have the longest identifiable history of any American people. Social customs, language and physical characteristics (such as unusually round heads) suggest an unbroken link between the American Indians living in the region today and their predecessors 3500 years ago. Since much of the area is jungle (which preserves monuments for the archaeologists by concealing them from others), their culture is also better known than most. Maya temples, carvings and inscriptions have survived in considerable number.

Incas The Inca civilisation originated from a tribe in the Cuzco area of Peru that was founded around the year of thirteenth century. The Incas were one of the largest, richest and most powerful empires before pre-Columbian America as their territory covered a massive 2,000,000 km (772,204 sq miles) at its peak. The Inca Empire crossed many boundaries as it conquered many countries and areas through a variety of means from conquest to peaceful assimilation, this lead to the Inca Empire gaining a large part of South America encompassing present day countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador and the area in which the Incas originated Peru. The Inca people were renowned for their art and one of their biggest accomplishments was their Architecture, for example the world heritage site of Machu Picchu displays the superb abilities of the builders due to the whole site being constructed without using any mortar.

Climate Change Killed off Maya Civilization, Study Says The drought theory is still controversial among some archeologists who believe a combination of overpopulation, an internecine struggle for control among the nobles, a weak economic base, and a political system that didn't foster power-sharing led to the Maya's collapse. One hypothesis suggests the Maya people themselves were responsible for their downfall as a result of environmental degradation, including deforestation. Defenders of the climate change theory, however, say the droughts sparked a chain of events that led to the demise of the Maya. "Sunny days, in and of themselves, don't kill people," said Richardson B.

Mayan Civilization City of Copan, Honduras Copán, called Xukpi by its residents, rises out of the mist of western Honduras, in a pocket of alluvial soil amid rugged topography. It is arguably one of the most important royal sites of the Maya civilization. Occupied between AD 400 and 800, Copán covers over 50 acres of temples, altars, stelae, ball courts, several plazas and the magnificent Hieroglyphic Stairway. The culture of Copán was rich in written documentation, today including detailed sculptural inscriptions, which is very rare in precolumbian sites. Sadly, many of the books--and there were books written by the Maya, called codices--were destroyed by the priests of the Spanish invasion. Explorers of Copán

Aztec Calendar : Mexico Culture & Arts Dale Hoyt Palfrey Mexica/Aztec Calendar Systems The Civil Calendar

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