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The Classic Period, which began around A.D. 250, was the golden age of the Maya Empire. Classic Maya civilization grew to some 40 cities, including Tikal, Uaxactún, Copán, Bonampak, Dos Pilas, Calakmul, Palenque and Río Bec; each city held a population of between 5,000 and 50,000 people. At its peak, the Maya population may have reached 2,000,000. Excavations of Maya sites have unearthed plazas, palaces, temples and pyramids, as well as courts for playing the ball games that were ritually and politically significant to Maya culture. Maya cities were surrounded and supported by a large population of farmers. Though the Maya practiced a primitive type of “slash-and-burn” agriculture, they also displayed evidence of more advanced farming methods, such as irrigation and terracing. The Maya were deeply religious, and worshiped various gods related to nature, including the gods of the sun, the moon, rain and corn. Serious exploration of Classic Maya sites began in the 1830s. Related:  Mayans

Maya Civilization Geography and Landscape The ancient Maya civilization occupied the eastern third of Mesoamerica, primarily the Yucatan Peninsula. The topography of the area greatly varied from volcanic mountains, which comprised the highlands in the South, to a porous limestone shelf, known as the Lowlands, in the central and northern regions. Many dangerous animals occupied this region of the peninsula including the jaguar, the caiman (a fierce crocodile), the bull shark, and many species of poisonous snakes. Both the Highlands and the Lowlands were important to the presence of trade within the Mayan civilization. The volcanic highlands, however, were the source of obsidian, jade, and other precious metals like cinnabar and hematite that the Mayans used to develop a lively trade. The Maya Culture Contrary to popular beleif, the Mayan civilization was not one unified empire, but rather a multitude of separate entities with a common cultural background. Mayan Writing Four books are known today: Mayan Art

A Guide to the Maya Civilization The Maya Civilization—also called the Mayan civilization—is the general name archaeologists have given to several independent, loosely affiliated city states who shared a cultural heritage in terms of language, customs, dress, artistic style and material culture. They occupied the central American continent, including the southern parts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, an area of about 150,000 square miles. In general, researchers tend to split the Maya into the Highland and Lowland Maya. By the way, archaeologists prefer to use the term "Maya civilization" rather than the more common "Mayan civilization", leaving "Mayan" to refer to the language. Highland and Lowland Maya The Maya civilization covered an enormous area with a large variation of environments, economies, and growth of the civilization. The Maya Lowlands make up the northern segment of the Maya region, including Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, and adjacent parts of Guatemala and Belize.

The Inca Empire: Children of the Sun When Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro landed in Peru in 1532, he found unimaginable riches. The Inca Empire was in full bloom. The streets may not have been paved with gold — but their temples were. The Coricancha, or Temple of Gold, boasted an ornamental garden where the clods of earth, maize plants complete with leaves and corn cobs, were fashioned from silver and gold. Nearby grazed a flock of 20 golden llamas and their lambs, watched over by solid gold shepherds. The Mountain Institute, West Virginia This mummified girl was discovered in 1995 on Mount Ampato in the Andes Mountains of Peru at an altitude of over 20,000 feet. The Inca called their empire Tahuantinsuyu, or Land of the Four Quarters. The true history of the Inca is still being written. The Sacred City of Cuzco Cuzco is nestled in a mountain valley 10,000 feet above sea level. And he did something else — which may explain the Inca's sudden rise to power. A new ruler had to create his own income. How was this done?

Mayan mathematics Version for printing Hernán Cortés, excited by stories of the lands which Columbus had recently discovered, sailed from Spain in 1505 landing in Hispaniola which is now Santo Domingo. After farming there for some years he sailed with Velázquez to conquer Cuba in 1511. He was twice elected major of Santiago then, on 18 February 1519, he sailed for the coast of Yucatán with a force of 11 ships, 508 soldiers, 100 sailors, and 16 horses. The people of the Yucatán peninsular were descendants of the ancient Mayan civilisation which had been in decline from about 900 AD. In order to understand how knowledge of the Mayan people has reached us we must consider another Spanish character in this story, namely Diego de Landa. However, despite being sympathetic to the Mayan people, Landa abhorred their religious practices. Nobody can quite understand Landa's feelings but perhaps he regretted his actions or perhaps he tried to justify them. The Dresden codex: Here are the Mayan numerals. yet

Maya Civilization The Maya are an indigenous people of Mexico and Central America who have continuously inhabited the lands comprising modern-day Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas in Mexico and southward through Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. The designation Maya comes from the ancient Yucatan city of Mayapan, the last capital of a Mayan Kingdom in the Post-Classic Period. The Maya people refer to themselves by ethnicity and language bonds such as Quiche in the south or Yucatec in the north (though there are many others). MAYA Origins The history of Mesoamerica is usually divided into specific periods which, taken together, reveal the development of culture in the region and, for the purposes of this definition, the emergence and cultivation of the Maya Civilization. The Olmec Period: 1500-200 BCE – This era is also known as the Pre-Classic or Formative Period when the Olmecs, the oldest culture in Mesoamerica, thrived. The Lost Gods: The Maya (Planet Knowledge) MAYA Today

The Lords of Tikal: Rulers of an ancient Maya City Harrison draws upon more than 30 years of excavation and research to summarize what is known to date about Tikal. Once one of the greatest cities in the world, Tikal was strategically located in the central region of the Maya lowlands and served as a major trade center and architectural style-setter. Over 3000 known surface structures exist, and as many as 10,000 ruined buildings and platforms may lie below the surface of the site. Recent discoveries in Maya archaeology include insights into the urban nature of the society and the agricultural methods used to support such a large population (possibly 200,000). Harrison discusses breakthroughs in the translation of Maya glyphs, which continue to shed light on the history and politics of the city, and also considers reasons for its decline and fall. This book is recommended for its cogent style, treatment of recent advances in Maya studies, and fine photos and format. (c) Copyright 2010. (less)

Teotihuacan Coordinates: Teotihuacan /teɪˌoʊtiːwəˈkɑːn/,[1] also written Teotihuacán (Spanish teotiwa'kan ), was a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican city located in the Basin of Mexico, 30 miles (48 km) northeast of modern-day Mexico City, which is today known as the site of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas. The city is thought to have been established around 100 BC, with major monuments continuously under construction until about AD 250.[3] The city may have lasted until sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries AD, but its major monuments were sacked and systematically burned around 550 AD. Although it is a subject of debate whether Teotihuacan was the center of a state empire, its influence throughout Mesoamerica is well documented; evidence of Teotihuacano presence can be seen at numerous sites in Veracruz and the Maya region. Name[edit] Teotihuacan and other important Classic Era settlements History[edit] Origins and foundation[edit]

The Mayan Calendar El Castillo. Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico. This Mesoamerican step pyramid’s platform, along with its four stairways of 91 steps, totals 365, or the number of days in a calendar year. Aztec Calendar. The Aztec calendar was an adaptation of the Mayan calendar. Among their other accomplishments, the ancient Mayas invented a calendar of remarkable accuracy and complexity. The Maya calendar was adopted by the other Mesoamerican nations, such as the Aztecs and the Toltec, which adopted the mechanics of the calendar unaltered but changed the names of the days of the week and the months. The Maya calendar uses three different dating systems in parallel, the Long Count, the Tzolkin (divine calendar), and the Haab (civil calendar). A typical Mayan date looks like this:, 3 Cimi 4 Zotz. What is the Long Count? The Long Count is really a mixed base-20/base-18 representation of a number, representing the number of days since the start of the Mayan era. When did the Long Count Start?

Mystery of the Maya - Maya civilization The Maya are probably the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica. Originating in the Yucatán around 2600 B.C., they rose to prominence around A.D. 250 in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize and western Honduras. Building on the inherited inventions and ideas of earlier civilizations such as the Olmec, the Maya developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing. The Maya were noted as well for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built without metal tools. They were also skilled farmers, clearing large sections of tropical rain forest and, where groundwater was scarce, building sizeable underground reservoirs for the storage of rainwater. Around 300 B.C., the Maya adopted a hierarchical system of government with rule by nobles and kings. Backgrounders: Peoples, Geography and Languages Cities of the ancient Maya Maya Society Cosmology and Religion Mathematics

Stone of Kings: In search of the lost jade of the Maya The Olmec and Maya civilizations of Mesoamerica both prized jade and created exquisite jade objects that have been discovered in numerous archaeological sites throughout southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Where, however, did these pre-Columbian people obtain their jade? The source has been a mystery since shortly after the Spanish Conquest. Helferich (Humboldt's Cosmos) has crafted a fast-paced true tale of the search for the elusive location of the prehistoric Mesoamerican jade mines. He examines the history of the archaeological discoveries of jade in Mesoamerica and recounts the varied speculations as to its source. He continues by detailing the past and current explorations of a number of searchers, including archaeologists, geologists, and businessmen, the latter eager to profit from creating jade items for the tourist market. (c) Copyright 2010. Terms of useDescriptive content provided by Syndetics™, a Bowker service. (less)

10 Forgotten Ancient Civilizations History The typical history textbook has a lot of ground to cover and only so many pages to devote to anything before Jesus. For most of us, that means ancient history is a three-dog show—Egypt, Rome, and Greece. Which is why it’s easy to get the impression that, outside of those three, our map of the ancient world is mostly just blank space. But actually nothing could be further from the truth. Plenty of vibrant and fascinating cultures existed outside that narrow focus. 10Aksum The kingdom Aksum (or Axum) has been the subject of countless legends. The Ethiopian kingdom of reality, not myth, was an international trading power. Aksum adopted Christianity not long after the Roman Empire did and continued to thrive through the early Middle Ages. 9Kush Known in ancient Egyptian sources for its abundance of gold and other valuable natural resources, Kush was conquered and exploited by its northern neighbor for nearly half a millennium (circa 1500–1000 B.C.). 8Yam 7The Xiongnu Empire 5Yuezhi

History - Ancient History in depth: The Fall of the Mayan Civilisation The Rise and Fall of the Mayan Empire The Rise and Fall of the Mayan Empire Scientists are using space satellites to unravel one of the great mysteries of the ancient world. Listen to this story via streaming audio, a downloadable file, or get help. November 15, 2004: Where the rain forests of Guatemala now stand, a great civilization once flourished. The people of Mayan society built vast cities, ornate temples, and towering pyramids. This vibrant "Classic Period" of Mayan civilization thrived for six centuries. Right: Mayan ruins in Guatemala. The fall of the Maya has long been one of the great mysteries of the ancient world. "By learning what the Maya did right and what they did wrong, maybe we can help local people find sustainable ways to farm the land while stopping short of the excesses that doomed the Maya," says Tom Sever at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Sever, NASA's only archeologist, has been using satellites to examine Mayan ruins. Left: NASA archeologist Tom Sever. It's an intriguing idea.

Collapse: The Maya The ancient Maya once occupied a vast geographic area in Central America. Their civilization extended to parts of what is now Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador, and most of Guatemala and Belize. From the third to the ninth century, Maya civilization produced awe-inspiring temples and pyramids, highly accurate calendars, mathematics and hieroglyphic writing, and a complex social and political order. Looking at the impressive remains of ancient Maya civilization, it's hard to imagine how such a society could collapse. Looking for clues at Copán Clues to this collapse can be found at Copán, a Maya site in western Honduras. In spite of its wealth, power, and size, Copán collapsed. society collapsed more gradually? What really happens when a society collapses?