For the Maya , cacao was a sacred gift of the gods, and cacao beans were used as currency. Ek Chuah, the Maya god of merchants and trade, was also the patron of the cacao crop. When the Spanish invaded Maya lands in the 1500s, they adopted the beverage , adding sugar and milk to make it sweet and creamy.
UC researchers discovered evidence of a filter system at the Corriental reservoir, an important source of drinking water for the ancient Maya in what is now northern Guatemala. “What’s interesting is this system would still be effective today and the Maya discovered it more than 2,000 years ago,” Tankersley said.
The Mayans were an agricultural society and were known as the “men of corn”. Another essential element in the diet of the Mayan people and the main source of protein were beans, which in the native language are called “bu’ul”. They were mashed and spread onto tortillas to make tacos .
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.
Fruits eaten included guava , papaya , avocado , custard apple , and sweetsop . A frothy chocolate drink and honey were also popular desserts. Another very popular drink was pulque beer, known to the Maya as chih and made from fermented agave juice.
Although much of the Maya life was spent doing hard work, they did enjoy entertainment as well. A lot of their entertainment was centered around religious ceremonies. They played music, danced, and played games such as the Maya ball game.
The Mayans and the Aztecs believed (and perhaps some people still do ) that chocolate was a gift from the gods. The Aztecs in particular revered the drink – they gave it to victorious warriors after battle, would use it during religious rituals, and even used cacao beans as currency.
Two thousand years ago, the ancient Maya developed one of the most advanced civilizations in the Americas. They developed a written language of hieroglyphs and invented the mathematical concept of zero. With their expertise in astronomy and mathematics, the Maya developed a complex and accurate calendar system.
The ancient Mayans may have had enough engineering know-how to master running water, creating fountains and even toilets by controlling water pressure, scientists now suggest. Scientists investigated the Mayan center at Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico.
The fact that the Maya managed to build a thriving civilization in this environment for 2000 years is testament to their skills as engineers. Caves were holy to the Maya as they were thought to be entrances to the underworld, and water -filled caves were also an important source of water .
Simple yet delicious handmade corn tortillas , which are made with ground corn masa and cooked on a wood-fired oven or a traditional comal, have been a diet staple for centuries for the indigenous Maya . Corn tortillas make a hearty addition to meals ranging from roasted meats and vegetables to basic rice and beans.
The history of Maya civilization is divided into three principal periods: the Preclassic, Classic, and Postclassic periods. These were preceded by the Archaic Period, during which the first settled villages and early developments in agriculture emerged.
Mysterious Decline of the Maya From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed.