ANCIENT MAYA CULTURE | CIVILIZATION | HISTORY | CLOTHING | CALENDAR | MAYA CULTURE WRITING

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The Mayan Culture
The Mayan Culture

ANCIENT MAYA (CULTURE)

The Maya civilization was one of the major civilizations to develop in ancient Mesoamerica. It is noted for its elaborate writing, numerical and calendar systems, as well as its impressive art and architecture. The Maya culture lives on in the same areas where its civilization first developed, in the southern part of Mexico and part of Central America, and there are millions of people who speak Mayan languages (of which there are several).

The Maya occupied a vast area covering southeast Mexico and the Central American countries of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. The Mayan culture began to develop in the Pre-Classic period, around 1000 BCE. and was at its heyday between 300 and 900 CE. The ancient Maya are well known for their writing, of which a great part can now be read (it was for the most part deciphered in the second half of the 20th Century), as well as for their advanced mathematics,  astronomy and calendrical calculations.

Maya Culture
Maya Culture

MAYA CULTURE CIVILIZATION 

The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples, and noted for its hieroglyphic script—the only known fully developed writing system of the pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system.

MAYA CULTURE CIVILIZATION FACTS

1.  THEIR PYRAMIDS AND CITIES ARE STILL BEING DISCOVERED. …
2. THEY WERE CHOCOLATE EATERS. …
3. THEY HAD A COMPLICATED SYSTEM OF HIEROGLYPHS. …
4. AN ACCIDENTAL ARCHAEOLOGIST CRACKED MAYAN HANDWRITING. …
5. THE MAYA WROTE BOOKS … …
6. THEIR CALENDAR, WHILE COMPLEX, DID NOT PREDICT THE END OF THE WORLD. …
7. THEY HAD PRETTY INTENSE BEAUTY REGIMENS.

Maya Civilization
Maya Civilization

MAYA CULTURE HISTORY 

Locating the Maya

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). Unlike other scattered indigenous populations of Mesoamerica, the Maya were centered in one geographical block covering all of the Yucatan Peninsula and modern-day Guatemala; Belize and parts of the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas; and the western part of Honduras and El Salvador. This concentration showed that the Maya remained relatively secure from invasion by other Mesoamerican peoples.

Early Maya, 1800 B.C. to A.D. 250

The earliest Maya settlements date to around 1800 B.C., or the beginning of what is called the Preclassic or Formative Period. 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 300 B.C., Maya farmers began to expand their presence both in the highland and lowland regions. The Middle Preclassic Period also saw the rise of the first major Mesoamerican civilization, the Olmecs. Like other Mesamerican peoples, such as the Zapotec, Totonac, Teotihuacán and Aztec, the Maya derived a number of religious and cultural traits–as well as their number system and their famous calendar–from the Olmec.

Cities of Stone: The Classic Maya, A.D. 250-900

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.

Maya History
Maya History

 

MAYA CULTURE CALENDAR

The Maya devised an elaborate writing system which was largely deciphered in the 1980s. Prior to this, many archaeologists believed that Maya writing dealt strictly with calendrical and astronomical themes, which went hand-in-hand with the concept that the Mayas were peaceful, studious stargazers. When Mayan glyphs were finally deciphered it became clear that the Maya were as interested in earthly matters as other Mesoamerican civilizations.

Period Calculation Span Years (approx.)
k’in 1 day 1 day
winal 1 x 20 20 days
tun 18 x 20 360 days 1 year
k’atun 20 x 18 x 20 7,200 days 20 years
bak’tun 20 x 18 x 20 x 20 144,000 days 394 years
piktun 20 x 18 x 20 x 20 x 20 2,880,000 days 7,885 years
kalabtun 20 x 18 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 57,600,000 days 157,700 years
kinchiltun 20 x 18 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 1,152,000,000 days 3,154,004 years
alawtun 20 x 18 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 23,040,000,000 days 63,080,082 years

 

The Mayan Calendar
The Mayan Calendar

MAYA CULTURE WRITING

The Maya devised an elaborate writing system which was largely deciphered in the 1980s. Prior to this, many archaeologists believed that Maya writing dealt strictly with calendrical and astronomical themes, which went hand-in-hand with the concept that the Mayas were peaceful, studious stargazers. When Mayan glyphs were finally deciphered it became clear that the Maya were as interested in earthly matters as other Mesoamerican civilizations.

Maya Writing
Maya Writing                                                    *sorry for bad pixels* :'(

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