When it was first built, its ascending layers of huge limestone blocks – which today give it a somewhat jagged appearance – were hidden by a smooth layer of fine white limestone. This demanded a higher quality of fine limestone.
A Maya innovation was the addition of sculpted and painted facades to pyramid and temple, which expressed political and religious messages. In fact, the whole pyramid would be covered in plaster and then painted red or other bright colours .
Compared to the Egyptian pyramids at Giza , Mayan pyramids are mostly smaller, but steeper and more ornate. They were built of stone blocks held together with lime mortar. Some were covered with plaster and painted.
A Maya city from the Classic Period usually consisted of a series of stepped platforms topped by masonry structures, ranging from great temple- pyramids and palaces to individual house mounds. These structures were in turn arranged around broad plazas or courtyards.
Ancient Egyptians primarily used a color palette containing six colors: Blue, Red, Green Yellow Black and White. Even though this artwork has degraded over time, you can still see the use of the primary colors. In ancient Egypt, mummification was the standard burial practice.
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.
Further excavations revealed that it had nine platforms, a single stairway, and a temple containing human remains, a jade-studded jaguar throne, and a so-called Chac Mool. The Chac Mool is a type of Maya sculpture of an abstract male figure reclining and holding a bowl used as a receptacle for sacrifices.
The Maya had a system of serfdom and slavery . Serfs typically worked lands that belonged to the ruler or local town leader. There was an active slave trade in the Maya region, and commoners and elites were both permitted to own slaves .
Mesoamerican peoples built pyramids from around 1000 B.C. up until the time of the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century. ( Egyptian pyramids are much older than American ones; the earliest Egyptian pyramid , the Pyramid of Djoser, was built in the 27 century BC).
The Pyramid of Djoser
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.
Pyramids were used not only as temples and focal points for Maya religious practices where offerings were made to the gods but also as gigantic tombs for deceased rulers, their partners, sacrificial victims, and precious goods.