Ancient Maya

From ancient time, civilizations have evolved one after another following man’s urge to settle down and prosper and in this case, the ancient Maya civilization is definitely not an exception. The word ancient is itself quite a sensational term. Whenever we deal with antiquity, we love to lose our selves among ancient dwellers, invaders, primitive societies and age-old wonders. Details on Maya civilization are in fact a story of an unrefined race who have strongly demonstrated the zeal and passion of being a part of nature.

The Mayans were conventional Mesoamericans and their seeds lie deep in the soil of Yucatan around 2600 BC. Contemporary southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize and western Honduras are some of the places where the Mayans gained immense prominence. Much has been inherited by the people of the Maya civilization from previous civilized societies like Olmec. Astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing – the three wonders that the Mayans produced have certainly become matters of great historical association. 

This is not where their achievements stopped. They thrived to achieve more. Their artistic accomplishments gave form to abundantly decorated ceremonial architectures, which included temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories. What is most fantastic about these constructions is that all of them have been built uniquely without making use of effective tools and implements.

The prospering individuals of the Maya civilization were also familiar with the art of giving form to pots and utensils. They enjoyed weaving too. Commercial relations with distant natives were also a means by which they earned their living. In order to maintain a healthy economic rapport with the outside world the Mayans had to clear routes through jungles and swamps.

The graph of rise and fall in brief simplifies the development and decline of the Maya Civilization. However, nobles and kings ruled the hierarchy of the Maya people. The Mayan society was made of several independent states, each state being based on a rural farming community where extensive urbanization was being practiced around major ceremonial centers. 

How did the Maya Civilization end? No exact details are however available as to why the Mayans deserted their homeland. We only know that when the people of northern Maya Civilization merged with the Toltecs the chapter of the Mayans was closed once and for all. It was in the year 1200 AD when the Maya people witnessed the sun going down on a glorious civilization. However, the last flickering flame of the already dwindling civilization was ultimately extinguished in the early sixteenth century with the arrival of the Spanish Conquerors.

Mask Culture Of The Mayans

Forming masks and decorating them vibrantly was an essential part of the Mayan culture and civilization. Masks were made from stone, wood, gold, obsidian and shell.

Fauna And Flora Of The Maya Civilization

Life was not so easy for the Mayans. Hunting was their favorite sport and they literally foraged the forest for deer, turkey, peccaries, tapir, rabbits and large rodents including peca and agouti. In trying to hunt for food, the people of Maya Civilization had to overcome innumerable dangers. Ferocious jaguars, fierce crocodiles, indomitable bull shark and venomous snakes – what more can they ask for?

Their compatibility with land was no less significant. This however signifies that they were able farmers. The lowlands were the principal productive areas where crops were grown mainly for personal consumption. Maize was their staple crop along with squash, beans, chili peppers, amaranth, manioc, cacao, cotton for light cloth and sisal for heavy cloth and rope. They cleared enormous expanse of tropical rain forests especially where groundwater has been inadequate. They were even experts in building large underground reservoirs in order to store substantial amount of rainwater.

The People Of Maya Civilization – Eminent Mineral Merchants

The Maya volcanic highlands were possessors of obsidian, jade and other valuables like cinnabar and hematite. In fact, the inhabitants were excellent mineral merchants. Doesn’t this sound like tales of Arabian Nights? It surely does.

Conclusion

Art, culture and religion – the three pillars of the Maya civilization have immensely helped the era reach great heights. In fact, this particular age has seen both the best and the worst of all situations. However, with the gradual flow of time one-civilization makes way for the other and this is exactly what happened. We acknowledge the evolution and extinction of this spectacular ancient Maya civilization as a glorious chapter in the history of mankind.

Joseph Paige 2006

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