What is Mayan Civilization?

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What is Mayan Civilization? Blog Image


Archaeologists in Mexico recently unearthed the remains of a circular temple that may have been built in honor of the Maya serpent deity Kukulcán.

About Mayan Civilization

  • The Maya are probably the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica. 
  • Originating in the Yucatán peninsula around 2600 B.C., they rose to prominence around A.D. 250 in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize and western Honduras.
  • Building on the inherited inventions and ideas of earlier civilizations, the Maya developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing. 
  • The Maya were noted as well for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built without metal tools.
  • They were also skilled farmers, clearing large sections of tropical rain forest and, where groundwater was scarce, building sizable underground reservoirs for the storage of rainwater. 
  • The Maya were equally skilled as weavers and potters, and cleared routes through jungles and swamps to foster extensive trade networks with distant peoples.
  • The Maya made paper from the inner bark of wild fig trees and wrote their hieroglyphs on books made from this paper. Those books are called codices.
  • Their society consisted of many independent states, each with a rural farming community and large urban sites built around ceremonial centers. It started to decline around A.D. 900.
  • The Maya peoples never disappeared, neither at the time of the Classic period decline nor with the arrival of the Spanish conquerors and the subsequent Spanish colonization of the Americas. 
  • The Maya remain in contemporary Mesoamerican societies, and maintain a distinctive set of traditions and beliefs, combined with more recent practices such as the almost total adoption of Roman Catholicism.

Where is the Yucatan Peninsula?

  • The Yucatan Peninsula is Mexico’s southeastern projection, extending into the Atlantic Ocean.
  • It separates the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. 

What is meant by Mesoamerica?

  • It refers to a geographical and cultural area which extends from central Mexico down through Central America, including the territory which is now made up of the countries of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Q1) What is hieroglyphic writing?

Hieroglyphics is a writing system invented in Egypt around 5000 years ago. Hieroglyphs take the form of pictures, each representing an entire word, syllable, or phoneme (the units of sound from which spoken language is built).Egyptian hieroglyphs are written in rows and columns. They are read from top to bottom, and either left to right or right to left – with the heads of the human and animal characters pointing toward the start of the line. 

Source: Circular temple dedicated to Maya serpent deity discovered in Mexico