Classic Maya civilization grew to some 40 cities, including Tikal , Uaxactún, Copán, Bonampak, Dos Pilas, Calakmul , Palenque and Río Bec; each city held a population of between 5,000 and 50,000 people.
List five great Maya cities, and describe the basic city design. Possible answers are Palenque , Copán , Tikal, Toniná, Yaxchilán, Banampak. The basic city design consisted of the palace and temples in the center, with the temples in a cross formation. Buildings were often places on top of older structures.
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
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 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.
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 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).
Maya kings were the centers of power for the Maya civilization. Each Maya city-state was controlled by a dynasty of kings . The position of king was usually inherited by the oldest son.
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.
Tikal Temple IV
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). They are often referred to as “stepped pyramids .”