Maya Culture

The Maya culture is one of the greatest the world has ever seen. They lived in areas of Central and South America from around 2000 BC until 1500 AD. The Mayan culture spread over a vast territory covering present Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and most of Guatemala and Belize. They originated some 5000 years ago but records reveal their early settlements in Guatemala, around 2500 B.C. or in Yucatan, dating from 1600 B.C.

Interestingly, the evolution of the Maya people can be separated into three main stages namely the pre-classic in between 1600 B.C. to 250 A.D., the classic in between 250 to 900 A.D. and the post classic from about 900 - 1542. The different time periods speaks of the changing phases of development in the life of the Mayans both on the cultural and social front. It also tells us about the Spanish conquest in 1948.

The Maya civilization encompassed everything from raising a distinctive architecture, the structure of a highly developed written language, the design of jewelry and ceramics and above all, the knowledge of mathematics and astronomy.

However, in the early pre-classic era of the Maya civilization, agriculture developed while hunting weapons were made more powerful using arrows with obsidian points. Moreover, irrigation techniques were applied to grow better crops. The middle pre-classic period was the time when stone constructions came into being like for instance those found at the excavations in Nakb'e, in El Pet'en, North of Guatemala.

In the late pre-classic era, the highlights of Maya culture were writing the first calendars and limestone constructions. As a matter of fact, during this period altar temples and monuments were erected, mythical scenes in two dimensions were painted while mathematics and astronomy came into being. And not to mention the classic period, which saw the economic growth as commercial networks were strengthened, and cacao grains were used as currency for business exchange. However the Mayans were healthy traders especially in gold.

The Maya civilization is well known for its archaeological brilliance namely the pyramids, sculpted stone pillars, ‘pelota’ playing fields, temples and plazas. In numerous parts of Central America you can still find many of the remaining ruins. Like the Greeks, they comprised as many as twenty sovereign states, which existed on the Yucatan Peninsula.

History tells us that Mayan art is a mere reflection of their everyday life and culture. Their art was composed of description and painting upon paper and plaster, wood and stone carvings, clay and stucco models, and pieces of terra cotta artistry. The Maya writing system or otherwise called hieroglyphics was a culmination of ideograms and phonetic symbols. It is said to be most complex form of writing having more than 800 symbols.

The Mayans were spiritual, as they believed in many Gods and practiced religious ceremonies. They mainly worshipped Ixtab, goddess of sacrificial suicide, Yum Cicil, the god of death, Kinich Ahau, the sun god and Chac, the rain god. They also indulged in amusements by way of games like "Pok-a-tok" and "Bul".

Although there is a mixture of Mayan and Western European traditions, current day Guatemalan Mayas still carry on much of their culture and religion. It just goes to show how the Maya culture, one of it’s own kind have stood against the test of time and thrives even today.

Joseph Paige 2006

Native American
Native Americans
Native Americans 2
Native American Ancestry
Native American Art
Native American Art 2
Native American Art Gallery
Native American Artifacts
Native American Artists
Native American Beadwork
Native American Blankets
Native American Books
Native American Bracelets
Native American Ceramics
Native American Church
Native American Clothing
Native American Clothing 2
Native American Clothes
Native American Coins
Native American Crafts
Native American Culture
Native American DNA
Native American Dance
Native American Dance 2
Native American Dating
Native American Demographics
Native American Dolls
Native American Drawings
Native American Dream Catcher
Native American Drums
Native American Drums 2
Native American Earrings
Native American Figurines
Native American Films
Native American Flute
Native American Flute 2
Native American Food
Native American Food 2
Native American Games
Native American Genealogy
Native American Genetics
Native American Gifts
Native American Healing
Native American Headdress
Native American Heritage Month
Native American History
Native American Indian Jewelry
Native American Indians
Native American Indians 2
Native American Jewellery
Native American Jewelry
Native American Jewelry 2
Native American Law
Native American Life
Native American Market
Native American Masks
Native American Medicine
Native American Medicine Wheel
Native American Moccasins
Native American Money
Native American Month
Native American Music
Native American Music 2
Native American Names
Native American Navajo
Native American Necklace
Native American Paintings
Native American Peace Pipe
Native American Poetry
Native American Poetry 2
Native American Portraits
Native American Pottery
Native American Pottery 2
Native American Pow Wow
Native American Pow Wow 2
Native American Products
Native American Rattles
Native American Recipes
Native American Religion
Native American Rights
Native American Rings
Native American Rugs
Native American Sand Painting
Native American Sculptures
Native American Spears
Native American Spirituality
Native American Stories
Native American Tomahawks
Native American Totem Pole
Native American Totem Poles
Native American Tattoos
Native American Tattoos 2
Native American Tattoos 3
Native American Tribe
Native American Tribes
Native American Tribes 2
Native American Tribes 3
Native American Videos
Native American Wolf
Native American Words
Native American Women
Northwest Native American Art