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Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington D. Smith, Michael E. Berdan The Postclassic Mesoamerican World. Smith, Robert E. Willey, and James C. American Antiquity 25 3 Steponaitis, Vincas, M. Stoltman, James B. Flannery, James H.click here
Burton, and Robert G. Papers of the Peabody Museum, Harvard, Vol. Williams, H. Turner, and C. The Maya civilization was one of the most dominant indigenous societies of Mesoamerica a term used to describe Mexico and Central America before the 16th century Spanish conquest. This concentration showed that the Maya remained relatively secure from invasion by other Mesoamerican peoples.
Within that expanse, the Maya lived in three separate sub-areas with distinct environmental and cultural differences: the northern Maya lowlands on the Yucatan Peninsula; the southern lowlands in the Peten district of northern Guatemala and adjacent portions of Mexico, Belize and western Honduras; and the southern Maya highlands, in the mountainous region of southern Guatemala. Most famously, the Maya of the southern lowland region reached their peak during the Classic Period of Maya civilization A.
The earliest Maya settlements date to around B. The earliest Maya were agricultural, growing crops such as corn maize , beans, squash and cassava manioc. During the Middle Preclassic Period, which lasted until about B. The Middle Preclassic Period also saw the rise of the first major Mesoamerican civilization, the Olmecs. In addition to agriculture, the Preclassic Maya also displayed more advanced cultural traits like pyramid-building, city construction and the inscribing of stone monuments. The Late Preclassic city of Mirador, in the northern Peten, was one of the greatest cities ever built in the pre-Columbian Americas.
Its size dwarfed the Classic Maya capital of Tikal, and its existence proves that the Maya flourished centuries before the Classic Period. The Classic Period, which began around A. At its peak, the Maya population may have reached 2,, Excavations of Maya sites have unearthed plazas, palaces, temples and pyramids , as well as courts for playing the famous Maya ball game ulama , all ritually and politically significant to Maya culture. Maya cities were surrounded and supported by a large population of farmers. The Maya were deeply religious, and worshiped various gods related to nature, including the gods of the sun, the moon, rain and corn.
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They were thought to serve as mediators between the gods and people on earth, and performed the elaborate religious ceremonies and rituals so important to the Maya culture. The Classic Maya built many of their temples and palaces in a stepped pyramid shape, decorating them with elaborate reliefs and inscriptions.
These structures have earned the Maya their reputation as the great artists of Mesoamerica. Guided by their religious ritual, the Maya also made significant advances in mathematics and astronomy , including the use of the zero and the development of complex calendar systems like the Calendar Round, based on days, and later, the Long Count Calendar, designed to last over 5, years.
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Serious exploration of Classic Maya sites began in the s. By the early to midth century, a small portion of their system of hieroglyph writing had been deciphered, and more about their history and culture became known. Most of what historians know about the Maya comes from what remains of their architecture and art, including stone carvings and inscriptions on their buildings and monuments.
The Maya also made paper from tree bark and wrote in books made from this paper, known as codices; four of these codices are known to have survived. They are also credited with some of the earliest uses of chocolate and of rubber. One of the many intriguing things about the Maya was their ability to build a great civilization in a tropical rainforest climate.
Traditionally, ancient peoples had flourished in drier climates, where the centralized management of water resources through irrigation and other techniques formed the basis of society. Ships in 15 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Table of Contents Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Chase and Diane Z.
Andrews and Fernando Robles C. Ball Lamanai Postclassic, by H. Rice and Don S. Graham, Grant D. Jones, and Robert R. Freidel Bibliography Index.
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