Three types of Maya farming Raised field. The Mayas used this method to farm areas of land that otherwise would have been too wet to use. Terrace farming . This is where walls are built to make small flat fields one on top of the other. Slash and burn.
The agricultural techniques the Maya used to overcome farming challenges were slash and burn agriculture .
Farming was difficult in the Maya region. There were dense forests, little surface water such as rivers and lakes, and the soil was poor. In the dense forest, they used a slash and burn technique to create a flat surface to plant crops. They dug canals throughout the fields to irrigate the crops.
Milpa was a popular choice for farming across the Maya civilization. Milpa used to be understood as a process that first meant cutting down and burning all the plants on a piece of land — the ash made the soil more nutritious for plants.
Mayan Farming : Terrace Farming In mountainous areas, the Maya made terraces on the steep hillsides. These terraces make the most productive use of mountainous or hilly land. Here too, the Maya used canals to irrigate the crops.
Maya astronomer -priests looked to the heavens for guidance. They used observatories, shadow-casting devices, and observations of the horizon to trace the complex motions of the sun, the stars and planets in order to observe, calculate and record this information in their chronicles, or “codices”.
They used basic stone tools and flint axes to clear vines. It was impossible to cut down an enormous tree so they would ring the tree with fire. Weeds were usually hoed with a flint knife soon after they germinated. The Mayans most commonly used a hoe for farming.
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.
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.
During the pre-Columbian era, human sacrifice in Maya culture was the ritual offering of nourishment to the gods . 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.
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.
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.
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.