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The Olmec, Maya, and Aztec

A Cross-Cultural Comparison Researched By: Michael Busch
by Michael Busch on 6 December 2012

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Transcript of The Olmec, Maya, and Aztec

Similarities The Olmec, Maya, and Aztec A Cross-Cultural Comparison Basics In order to truly understand and study the historic cultures of Mesoamerica, one must first be able to differentiate between these cultures. The Olmec, Maya, and Aztec were chosen because many people refer to these cultures, often incorrectly. These three cultures were all located in Mexico and Central America. Works Cited http://handmade-chocs.co.uk/images/olmecmap[1].jpeg We start with the Olmec.... The Olmec Early Formative Period: 1200-900 B.C. Probable chiefdoms along Chiapas Coast and in the Valley of Oaxaca (Evans, 2004). "Mother Civilization" Houses start in ritual configuration with eventual change into stratified houses and temples(Evans, 2004). Large, Conical mounds; Respect for the Jaguar; Large Stone head sculptures - All defining characteristics. Glyph-like Symbols Sustenance farmers: Grew maize
Also ate dog and deer. (Evans, 2004) Growth of farming created surplus which led to creation of stratification. http://www.mysticunicorn.com/graphics/P-13.jpg http://rationalfaiths.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/olmec_tres_mound.jpg Sites: San Lorenzo, La Venta,
Chalcatzingo, Tres Zapotes (Evans, 2004) San Bartolo: Site with Maya murals featuring figures with masks with Olmec features. http://tang.skidmore.edu/app/public/
webroot/files/posts/maya_sb_01-1_hm2.jpg Were-Jaguar imagery http://www2.palomar.edu/users/ddozier/photos_of_people_&_objects/Mexico/Olmec/Olmec_were_jaguar.jpg Peaceful people (1) Traded for Jade - more important
than any other mineral (Ariadne, 2005) Now to the Maya.... Disappeared 500 B.C. (Ariadne, 2005) Popoluca - possible descendant langauge (Evans, 2004) Ariadne, Grandmother. "Olmec Culture." Palomar College. Palomar.edu, 16 June 2005. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. Maya Evans, Susan Toby. Ancient Mexico & Central America: Archaeology and Culture History. London: Thames & Hudson, 2004. Print.
"The Greeks of the New World" All 3 civilizations played a variation of the "ball game" with the iconic courts. http://www.oaxacaoaxaca.com/images/ballcourt.jpg Started as swidden agriculturists with intensification resulting from population increase (Evans, 2004). Possible descendant of the Olmec (Evans, 2004) Classic Period: 1000 B.C. - 900 A.D.(fall) Sites: Tikal, Chichen Itzá, Copán, Palenque (Evans, 2004) Start with villages and towns with eventual movement to large cities/ritual centers, 40 such cities at the
height (History, 2012) 20 different Mayan languages (Evans, 2004) Full written language with glyphs Famous for calendrics with a calendar with interlocking wheels for creating a 260-day year, a 365-day year, and a long count, as well as other counts - Could predict solstices. (Lan, 2008) Built large temple pyramids (Evans, 2004) http://www.geobabble.org/~hnw/maya2a.jpg http://www.thelivingmoon.com/43ancients/
04images/Pyramid/Mayan_El_Castilo.JPG All have similar calendars - Aztec and Maya derived from Olmec (History, 2012) Peak total Maya population may have been 2 million (History, 2012) Lived in the Mexican lowlands as well as the Yucatan (History, 2012) Small Maya treasures included jade, feathers, and obsidian (History, 2012) Well known for intricate designs on pottery (History, 2012) http://www.google.com/imgres?q=mayan+pottery&start=156&um=1&hl=en&safe=off&sa=N&tbo=d&biw=1092&bih=499&tbm=isch&tbnid=eYY31kAFe6V08M:&imgrefurl=http://www.csupomona.edu/~lugo/MAYA/index-2.html&docid=sWWfnA0J29H5IM&imgurl=http://www.csupomona.edu/~lugo/MAYA/images/maya1.jpg&w=1143&h=489&ei=6_-_UMGXHOHL2QXT2IHICA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=674&vpy=228&dur=3720&hovh=148&hovw=344&tx=206&ty=109&sig=101195777402960368367&page=9&tbnh=114&tbnw=240&ndsp=26&ved=1t:429,r:60,s:100,i:184 Finally, to the Aztec... Aztec Lan, Ivan. "An Introduction to the Mayan Calendar." Http://www.pauahtun.org. N.p., 29 July 2008. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. History. "The Rise and Fall of the Maya Empire." History. History Channel, 2012. Web. http://images108.fotki.com/v360/photos/6/
119326/10917445/MayanCalendar-vi.gif Maya and Olmec have remnants of stelae - large stone slabs erected to commemorate important individuals at death (Evans, 2004) http://www.ultimatejourney
com/HU.Copan.Stela.JPG Practiced ritual human sacrifice and cannibalism (Evans, 2004) "Mexica" Post-classic Period: ~1200 A.D. - 1521 Possibly began as northern hunting and foraging tribe (History 2, 2012) Original settlement at Lake Texcoco ( History 2, 2012) Known for symbol of eagle holding a snake in its beak. Cultivators of maize, squash, tomatoes, and others (History 2, 2012) Famous ruler: Moctezuma Empire under him may have reached up to 500 states
(History 2, 2012) http://www.fcschools.net/esl/lessons/mexicounit/azteccactus.jpg Had large,busy marketplaces visited by tens of
thousands of people daily (History 2, 2012) http://www.maya-aztec.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/teno15.jpg Both Maya and Aztec were state-level societies with kings and religious leaders. Instability within the empire, paired with invasion by Spanish forces, led by Cortes, was enough to topple the empire (History 2, 2012) Core located in the Basin of Mexico (Evans, 2004) Capital City: Tenochtitlan Spoke Nahuatl (Evans, 2004) Triple Alliance - alliance between the city-states Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan (Evans, 2004) El Templo Mayor: http://www.mexicomaxico.org/Tenoch/TempMayA.jpg Wrap - Up While there are many other similarities and differences between these three great MesoAmerican cultures, the ones presented were points commonly incorrectly made.

Now with this better understanding of the cultures, one can more easily dive into more complex social aspects to discover deeper interactions across time and space. History 2. "Aztecs." History. History Channel, 2012. Web.
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