Mayan Civilization

mayacivilization

The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period (c. 2000 BC to AD 250), according to the Mesoamerican chronology, many Maya cities reached their highest state of development during the Classic period (c. AD 250 to 900), and continued throughout the Post-Classic period until the arrival of the Spanish.

The Maya civilization shares many features with other Mesoamerican civilizations due to the high degree of interaction and cultural diffusion that characterized the region. Advances such as writing, epigraphy, and the calendar did not originate with the Maya; however, their civilization fully developed them. Maya influence can be detected in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and western El Salvador to as far away as central Mexico, more than 1,000 km (620 mi) from the central Maya area. The many outside influences found in Maya art and architecture are thought to have resulted from trade and cultural exchange rather than direct external conquest.

The Maya peoples survived the Classic period collapse and the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and sixteenth-century Spanish colonization of the Americas. Today, the Maya and their descendants form sizable populations throughout the Maya area; they maintain a distinctive set of traditions and beliefs resulting from the merger of pre-Columbian and post-Conquest ideas and cultures. Millions of people speak Mayan languages today. (Wikipedia)

Authenticmaya.com

Mayan Jewels in Teeth

Ancient Gem-Studded Teeth Show Skill of Early Dentists

National Geographic Information – The Maya: Glory and Ruin

Saga of a civilization in three parts: The rise, the monumental splendor, and the collapse.

By Guy Gugliotta

Photograph by Simon Norfolk with permission of Conaculta-INAH, Mexico

The doomed splendor of the Maya unfolded against the backdrop of the rain forests of southern Mexico and Central America. Here, Classic Maya civilization reached improbable heights. To chart a culture whose Preclassic roots reach back 3,000 years, we begin with new evidence suggesting that the arrival of a warlord from central Mexico ushered in an age of magnificence and masterpieces such as the death mask of Palenque’s King Pakal. But empires rise only to fall. We conclude with the cascade of catastrophe—natural and man-made—that precipitated the Classic Maya collapse, leaving nature to reclaim the grandeur. (click here to read on)

 

Mayan Exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota
Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed
Exhibit open now through January 5, 2014
Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 221-9444
info@smm.org

The Maya created one of the great civilizations of the ancient world. Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed explores ancient Maya society through the eyes of powerful kings and queens and the farmers, artisans, administrators, and craftsmen who supported the elite and made up the foundations of these ancient states. The exhibition features artifacts from throughout the Maya world, interactive exhibits and evocative environments to make the lives of the Maya relevant, accessible, and approachable.

Mayan map

Interactive Quiz

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