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Copy of Ancient Maya Civilization: People of the Jaguar

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Janeen Saunders

on 26 March 2018

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Transcript of Copy of Ancient Maya Civilization: People of the Jaguar

Ancient Maya Civilization: People of the Jaguar
Where Did the Maya Live?
Developed an advanced civilization around 2600 B.C. in the Yucatan area of Mexico and Central America
The present day countries of Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
were once home to some of ancient Maya's important sites
Built small farming villages
By 200 A.D., some of these villages grew into vast cities.
Warriors fought over land and power
No ruler united the entire Maya kingdom
Major Maya Advancements and Accomplishments
The Maya made major advancements in the fields of:
hieroglyphics (written language)
Maya Class System
A hierarchical class system existed in Ancient Maya culture
Originally Maya people lived in villages, but over hundreds of years
they established vast city-states
Map of Ancient Maya civilization
Map of major Maya archaeological sites
The ancient Maya recorded important information about scientific discoveries, historical records, farming techniques, etc. using a
system of written language comprised of hieroglyphics often referred to as glyphs
Written Language
These glyphs were often scribed on
books (created from barks, leathers,
animals skins), carved into stone, or painted
onto pottery
Ancient Mayan glyphs representing syllables
Ancient Mayan logograms representing words or meaning
Known for their observatories
Charted the planets
Created an accurate yearly calendar
Predicted eclipses of the sun and moon
Believed the wills of the Gods could be understood by reading the stars, moons, and planets
One of Three Maya Calendars
Maya mathematical system uses only three symbols, alone or combined, to write any number.
The dot = 1 unit, the bar= 5 units and the zero is represented by a shell.
Also have a place value system to represent larger numbers
Nobility was most often passed through family lineage- government officials, tribute collectors, military leaders, etc.
Commoners worked as farmers and laborers- upward mobility was possible for wealthy and skilled artisans, merchants, and military
Maya people had an active slave trade- form of punishment, prisoners of war
Hundreds of Maya cities once existed
These cities housed great architectural structures including: temple-pyramids, palaces, ball courts, an open air plaza, and marketplace
Archeologists often have to hunt on foot through rainforests to find ruins
Tazumel site in El Salvador
Ball Court at Copan- in modern day Honduras
Tikal in modern day Guatemala
Caracol in modern day Belize
Religious Beliefs of the Maya
Polytheism- a belief in many Gods
Believed the Gods controlled everything
Priests had enormous influence because Maya believed priests could speak to the Gods
Food and animal sacrifices were common
Human sacrifices at times
Often Gods were represented with animal features
Camazotz- The Death Bat
Chaac- The Rain God
Maya Rituals and Ceremonies
Bloodletting ceremony: The Maya believed that the shedding of blood would allow communication with the Gods and prompt rainfall to water the maize and provide a strong harvest
Individuals would cut or pierce skin to cause bleeding
Both nobility and war captives partook in bloodletting
A popular ritual was for a Maya to pierce his own tongue and thread a thin rope through the hole, thus letting the blood run down the rope
Carved Maya art depicting bloodletting ritual
Maya Ball Game
The Maya inherited a ball game from the Olmecs that served as an important ritual during many political and religious festivals and ceremonies
History's first team sport
High ranking captives were forced to play the game
Life or Death
losers became sacrificial victims and faced torture and/or execution following the match
winners were showered with praise and riches
Propel a ball of rubber into a ring without using hands
Fast and dangerous- uniforms had to protect yet be light enough to allow quick movement
Ball courts were shaped like a capital "I" and were often a symbol of a city's wealth and power
"I don't understand how when the balls hit the ground they are sent into the air with such incredible bounce." - Pedro Matir de Angleria (an early Spanish historian)
In Action!
End of a Civilization
The exact cause for the collapse of the great Maya civilization is still a mystery, but by 900 C.E. Maya cities were left barren
Possible causes for downfall:
long periods of drought (periods of time with little to no precipitation) resulting in crop failure
exhaustion of land's soil
Invaders from other countries
Ancient Maya Ruins
Today's Maya
Ancestors of the ancient Maya still live in present day Mexico and Central America
More than 6 million
Speak Mayan languages
Observe some religious customs of their ancestors combined with Christianity
Conflict over land and resources

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