(I don't really know how to ask this question, so help in editing it to better fit the StackExchange format would be quite welcome.)
From what I can tell, Classical Mayan civilization was exceptionally gruesome. So much so, that I have a hard time accepting it. Reading articles on Wikipedia, this is what I see: the cities were almost constantly at war with each other, war captives were often sacrificed, kings and nobles would frequently pierce their bodies for blood in public ceremonies (in horrifying ways involving thorns, ropes, and delicate body parts), there were sacrifices of children, and I've heard there are a few examples of cannibalism.
Can that be right? Can Mayan civilization really have been so horrifying?
I know very little about the period, and I'm hoping these aspects of it didn't really exist.