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The Mayans

An overview of the Mayan Culture
by

Kimber Barnhart

on 4 March 2011

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Transcript of The Mayans

The Mayans There are well over a dozen Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula. The Mayan culture dates back to 1800 BC. They built off of the previous culture called the Olmecs. With the Mayans ingenuity to invent and create, their culture thrived in agriculture and architecture. One of their greatest achievments was their numerous ruins. This infamous civilization was most significantly known for their prosperous yet sacrificial way of living. Like the Romans, they became known for their amazing feats in architecture. One example of their intriquet construction skills is the ruins of. . . Ex Balam, when translated means, "the black jaguar" or "bright star jaguar." The buildings of Ek Balam are also known for their wide dimensions. Yet another unique attribute amongst the Mayan ruins. The Oval Palace The Twin Pyramids Stelae Also called, "La Redonda" meaning, "the round one." Said to be the most interesting ruin at the sight, with intriquet designs like the serpent mouth doorway containing everything from molars to eyebrows. The oval palace also contains lifesize statues, like "the Angel", the only Angel found in Mayan civilization. Mayan occupation in the Ek Balam site began around 400 B.C. and was inhabited until its conquest. The site was named after a lord known as, Coch Cal Balam, also called Ek Balam, and belonged to the Empire of Talol. The power of the city Ek Balam, hit its peak between 700 and 1000 A.C. During a period of this city's time of industry and power, the leader of Ek Balam was called, Ukil-Kan-Lek-Tok, whose tomb is found atop the Acropolis ruin. Most of its building began construction from 800 A.C. and onward. The architecture of Ek Balam is unique in several ways. The Entrance to this tomb is shaped into a monsters mouth, symbolizing the portal into the Other World that their leader took. Unlike most Mayan cities, Ek Balam has walls surrounding some parts of the ruins. Also, One of the ruins has a circular shape, a very unmayan feature. Ek Balam is said to have been a well populated, and influential city. Some crops most likely grown there are, honey, wax, corn, and cotton. Another major structure found within the site is known as. . . This structure served as the temple in Ek Balam. The twin pyramids are two identical structures used as watch towers for the people of Ek Balam. They are located in the central block of the site. The Acropolis itself, is a high structure, composed of several levels of stairs. But the Mayan ruins weren't the only impressive thing about the Mayans. They had a common sport in their culture, where the penalty of losing was death. They played in the ball court, with sloped wall structures on either side of the court, and an arena for the audience. They used a ball made of rubber, and the goal of the game was to get the ball into a ring found high on the sloping walls. That was quite a feat all by itself, but one rule forbade mayan players from using their hands. When a player got the ball inside one of these rings, the game was often over. And the leader of the losing team, was often sacrificed to the MAyan gods. Here is a Site Map of Ek Balam Ek Balam, like most Mayan ruins, is found in the Yucatan Peninsula. But they thrived in other ways which contributed to society today. The Mayan mathematicians were the ones to develop the concept of zero. A concept well taken advantage of in modern times. Also amongst their mathematicians and astronomers they discovered that a solar year is just over 365 days, which is the amount of days per year we go by today. The Mayans were also able to develop an advanced writing system, which we see from their stone carvings, since most parchement they may have used would not have lasted through the ages. These stone slabs were carved with the genealogy and military sucess of various Mayan leaders. These two ruins aren't a surprising find in Ek Balam, since the city also has walls for defenses. Because of this ancient city's apparent need for defenses, we can tell Ek Balam was a city of status. Stelaes are a common and interesting example of Mayan wrting. THE END The Mayans were an amazing culture, and their history and advancements can be appreciated by the numerous ruins that enshrine their civilization. It is one of the larger ruins on the site, measuring 146 meters across, 55 meters wide and 29 meters tall.
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