Ancient Mayan Culture -

Ancient Mayan Culture -

Ancient Mayan Culture About the Cities! Classical Mayan civilisation is dated to between the years 200-900 AD. During this period as many as 40 great city states developed, with most ranging in population from 5,000 to 50,000 people. Some authorities suggest that Tikal may have had a population of up to 100,000 people by 800 AD. These urban centres were supported by rural outlying areas of farmers and smaller settlements. Most city states had their own kings but some may have been subject to the rule of more powerful

neighbours. Evidence of some decline, for example the abandonment of cities in certain regions, seems to have begun around 800AD. About the Farms and Food! In the lowland areas crops such as maize, cacao, beans, avocado, squash and chilli were grown. Dogs were kept for meat and animals such as turkeys, rabbits, deer and agouti were hunted for food. Highland areas provided stones such as obsidian and jade and ores such as hematite. Quetzal feathers were highly prized

for headdresses. Clothing was made from woven cotton or sisal. About the Architecture! Mayan cities are characterised by a range of monumental architecture including temples, stepped pyramids, ball courts, observatories and palace complexes. Large plazas, roads and reservoirs were also built. These are decorated with sculptures and hieroglyphs detailing aspects of warfare, dynastic succession and religious ritual. A high degree of artistry was achieved and this is evident also in pottery, wall paintings, jade

carvings and feathered headdresses. About the Calendar! The Mayan calendar had three aspects: a civil calendar of 365 days; a religious calendar of 260 days and a long-count calendar divided into cycles called baktuns. The civil and religious calendar worked together in 52 year cycles. The baktun was a cycle of 400 years. Mayan mathematics was also highly advanced and the use of zero meant that lengthy and complex calculations could be accurately completed.

About Religion! Mayan religion influenced most areas of life. Mayans believed that life was a cycle and that people progressed through various stages before reaching the place of misty sky. Their gods were bloodthirsty and human sacrifice was required to appease them. The King was believed to be a representative of the gods. The famous Mayan ball game was also a religious ritual. Months were dedicated to gods and their portraits adorned the faces of

buildings. About Fashion! Because Mayan clothing can communicate so much information about the wearer, each item of clothing becomes quite important. Fashion trends, such as the cut of a man's shirt or the length of a woman's skirt, can be specific to a particular village, but the same basic elements make up the Mayan clothing ensemble, regardless of the village, state, or nation of the

wearer. Men usually wear a shirt, pants, a hat, and usually a sash or belt. Throughout Mesoamerica, men carry bags made of wool or maguey fiber. Women generally are seen wearing a huipil or blouse, a corte or skirt, and a sash. They also carry a shawl that serves myriad functions. It can keep them warm on a cool morning or be used to carry a child on their back. Some women use these shawls to carry their produce to the market or their purchases home from a day of shopping. About Homes!

The house was one rectangular room with rounded corners, no windows, and one central door built to face east. Sometimes there was another door that led to a second hut, used as both a kitchen and a chicken coup. In the traditional kitchens, women would cook on a grill set over three rocks. When the hammocks were hung, the main, single-room house was converted into a dormitory. Now it is your turn!

Write a paragraph with a picture on one feature of Mayan Culture you like!

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