Mayan civilization occupied much of the northwestern part of the isthmus of Central America, from Chiapas and Yucatán, now part of southern Mexico , through Guatemala , Honduras , Belize , and El Salvador and into Nicaragua. Maya people still live in the same region today.
The Maya are probably the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica. Originating in the Yucatán around 2600 B.C., they rose to prominence around A.D. 250 in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize and western Honduras.
The Maya Empire, centered in the tropical lowlands of what is now Guatemala, reached the peak of its power and influence around the sixth century A.D. The Maya excelled at agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making and mathematics, and left behind an astonishing amount of impressive architecture and
The Mayans were master architects, building pyramids and even entire cities, many of which are still standing today. Mayan pyramids were made of stone. Mayan cities grew around the pyramids. They consisted of plazas connected together by sacbeob (whiteway) causeways.
After assembling a record-setting 154 radiocarbon dates, the researchers have been able to develop a highly precise chronology that illuminates the patterns that led up to the two collapses that the Maya civilization experienced: the Preclassic collapse, in the second century A.D., and the more well-known Classic
Blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice .
The Maya have lived in Central America for many centuries. They are one of the many Precolumbian native peoples of Mesoamerica . In the past and today they occupy Guatemala, adjacent portions of Chiapas and Tabasco, the whole of the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and the western edges of Honduras and Salvador.
The Maya believed that when people died, they entered the Underworld through a cave or a cenote. When kings died, they followed the path linked to the cosmic movement of the sun and fell into the Underworld; but, because they possessed supernatural powers, they were reborn into the Sky World and became gods.
The Maya lived there 4,000 years ago (about 2000 BC). At that date complex societies were living in the Maya region. The staple foods of the Maya diet were cultivated.
The Maya created arable land by using a “slash-and-burn” technique to clear the forests. They planted maize and secondary crops such as beans, squash, and tobacco. In the highlands to the west, they terraced the slopes on mountainsides; in the lowlands, they cleared the jungle for planting.
The most likely explanation, Inomata said, is that Mayan culture developed as part of a broader social movement that unfurled across Mesoamerica — a region extending from central Mexico to Central America — between the years 1500 and 800 BC.
Civilizations like the Olmec, Maya , Aztec and Inca all built pyramids to house their deities, as well as to bury their kings. In many of their great city-states, temple- pyramids formed the center of public life and were the site of holy rituals, including human sacrifice.