The Maya traded in a vast array of goods from across Mexico and Central America, including cotton, salt, jade, obsidian, cocoa, tropical bird feathers and slaves, Rissolo said.
Merchants traded cacao beans throughout Mesoamerica not only in the Maya lands but also to the Olmec , Zapotec , Aztecs and elsewhere. Merchants also traded in raw materials including jade, copper, gold, granite, marble, limestone and wood.
Maya Canoe Travel Although both the inland and coastal Maya had knowledge of canoes, travel on the sea required specialized knowledge of currents, weather, shoals, and navigation likely only known to the coastal Maya .
The Aztecs traded with a number of other peoples throughout Mesoamerica. They traded with the Mayans who were concentrated to the east on the
The ancient Maya never used coins as money . Instead, like many early civilizations, they were thought to mostly barter, trading items such as tobacco, maize, and clothing.
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.
Most Maya today observe a religion composed of ancient Maya ideas, animism and Catholicism . Some Maya still believe, for example, that their village is the ceremonial centre of a world supported at its four corners by gods. When one of these gods shifts his burden, they believe, it causes an earthquake.
The Aztecs were famous for their agriculture, cultivating all available land, introducing irrigation, draining swamps, and creating artificial islands in the lakes. They developed a form of hieroglyphic writing, a complex calendar system, and built famous pyramids and temples.
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”.
Allen Christenson, professor of comparative arts and letters and an expert on Mayan society, explained that although the Maya couldn’t predict the exact day of an eclipse , they could predict eclipse seasons by noting when Venus rose above the horizon just before sunrise.
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.
Maya priests in the city of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan peninsula sacrificed children to petition the gods for rain and fertile fields by throwing them into sacred sinkhole caves, known as “cenotes.” The caves served as a source of water for the Mayans and were also thought to be an entrance to the underworld.
Also known as Aztec hoe or axe money , this standardized, unstamped currency had a fixed worth of 8,000 cacao seeds – the other common unit of exchange in Mesoamerica.
They slept in hammocks strung up in the houses during the rainy season; weather permitting, hammocks were also used outdoors. Many Maya continue to live in houses similar to those in which their ancestors lived.