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 Maya civilization (/ˈmaɪə/) was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples, and noted for its logosyllabic script—the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system.
The designation Maya comes from the ancient Yucatan city of Mayapan, the last capital of a Mayan Kingdom in the Post-Classic Period. The Maya people refer to themselves by ethnicity and language bonds such as Quiche in the south or Yucatec in the north (though there are many others).
High-status Mayan mothers attempted to induce strabismus (crossed eyes ) by hanging balls in front of babies’ noses, in honor of Kinich Ahau, the cross -eyed sun god. They would also strap boards to the foreheads of noble infants to encourage flattening, as an enduring sign of high status.
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 today number about six million people, making them the largest single block of indigenous peoples north of Peru. Some of the largest Maya groups are found in Mexico, the most important of these being the Yucatecs (300,000), the Tzotzil (120,000) and the Tzeltal (80,000).
Maya stelae (singular stela ) are monuments that were fashioned by the Maya civilization of ancient Mesoamerica. They consist of tall, sculpted stone shafts and are often associated with low circular stones referred to as altars, although their actual function is uncertain.
Maya is a female name with multiple meanings: In Sanskrit Māyā means “illusion or magic”, and is also an alternate name of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi.
The Maya civilization was biggest between the years of 420 AD and 900 AD. The Maya civilization spread all the way from central Mexico to Honduras, Guatemala, and northern El Salvador. It is estimated that at its maximum, the civilization had at least ten million people.
Pulque is an alcoholic drink which was first drunk by the Maya , Aztecs, Huastecs and other cultures in ancient Mesoamerica. Similar to beer, it is made from the fermented juice or sap of the maguey plant (Agave americana). The drink had its own personified goddess and was featured in episodes of Mesoamerican mythology.
The Mayans had highly developed dental skills, not acquired for oral health or personal adornment but probably for ritual or religious purposes. They were able to place carved stone inlays into prepared cavities in live front teeth .
“The Yucatan Maya are fairly short in stature and relatively thick-bodied. They have rather long arms and small hands and feet. The average height of the men is 5 feet 1 inch and of the women, 4 feet 8 inches .”