Maya society was rigidly divided between nobles, commoners, serfs, and slaves. Commoners worked as farmers, laborers, and servants. It is believed that some commoners became quite wealthy through their work as artisans and merchants, and that upward mobility was allowed between classes through service in the military.
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.
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.
the Olmec civilization
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 .
Nobles and Priests: The only people who could read and write in the ancient Maya world were most of the priests and some of the nobles.
The Mayans invented chocolate insofar as they were the first civilization to make a beverage from the beans of the cacao tree.
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.
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.
There is currently only one known archaeological example of a pre-Columbian Maya canoe. Murals and artifacts from Tikal and Chichen Itza depict Maya canoes and many model canoes have been found; including at Moho Cay and Altun Ha.
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.
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.
Maya historians have generally settled on a combination of three main factors which could have caused the Maya collapse: warfare between city – states , overpopulation, and drought. Previously, warfare had often been token, in that defeat might result in only a small number of important figures being taken as captives.
The Maya are probably the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica. Originating in the Yucatán around 2600 B.C., they rose to prominence around A.D. 250 in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize and western Honduras.