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It appears that the real demise of the Mayan Empire was a number of factors, including drought, warfare, and disease. NASA archeologist Tom Sever used satellite images combined with archeological findings to piece together the most likely scenario. Using pollen trapped in layers of lake sediment, scientists learned that around 1,200 years ago, just before ...


7

According to Cacao domestication I: the origin of the cacao cultivated by the Mayas, genetic evidence indicates that the cacao tree was cultivated from wild ancestors and improved over time. Mayans were pretty good at agriculture, beyond the slash and burn methods that were used by many other tribes in the Americas during the same time period. From Maya ...


7

Their civilization did in fact engage in all those things. If anything, its been underplayed. One important thing to note here is that things appeared to get particularly bloody (at least in terms of the inter-city warfare) towards the end when their Civilization was collapsing. Jared Diamond goes over this in his book Collapse, which has a whole chapter ...


5

The Mayans viewed their gods as both benevolent, and malevolent. As Sir John Eric Sidney Thompson stated in his book Maya History and Religion the Mayan gods were largely indifferent except for a desire for recognition in the way of frequent offerings. This is confirmed somewhat by the Popol Vuh which is mostly concerned with how the gods made man. This ...


4

The wiki article on Mayan Trade has a good overview of Mayan social structure. In essence: The Maya relied on a strong middle class of skilled and semi-skilled workers and artisans which produced both commodities and specialized goods. They also had a large base of slaves and serfs - agricultural specialists. Members of the nobility had specialized ...


4

From an (excellent) article on Smithsonian.com titled, El Mirador, the Lost City of the Maya: Hansen believes that El Mirador’s inhabitants may have initially gone to the Caribbean coast and then migrated back inland, where they finally ended up in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula at Calakmul, which emerged as a powerful city-state and rival to Tikal in the ...


4

About the only book I have come across in looking at the Mayan Calendar, which only came from a class exercise in looking for more information on the Mayan Apocalypse, was the E.G. Richards book Mapping Time. It noted some ideas of lucky and unlucky days, as well as more on other calendar systems. Honestly I don't recall how much he covered in all of it, ...


3

The Natives of the Americas advanced their civilizations well enough for the situation they were in. They developed from common stone-age tech level and had agriculture, cities, stone building and pyramid like structures. They developed societies that were comparable to those in remote parts of Europe in the age of the Pyramids, or better, by say 1200 AD. ...


2

All of these things happened, and worse. You did not mention the flaying of living people, the drugging of participants, and more. But, it is unfair to ascribe this only to the Maya. They, like other non-Aztec cultures in Mesoamerica, performed these practices less than the Aztecs[1]. The Aztec orchestrated this kind of imperialistic ritual (in hopes ...


2

The following passage from Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan would lend some credence to the first two explanations of remarkable discoveries of a fallen civilization: The sight of this unexpected monument put at rest at once and forever, in our minds, all uncertainty in regard to the character of American antiquities, and ...


2

Romanticism combined with the need of the Mexicans to have some sort of moral superiority to claim over their northern neighbours. Wouldn't do to give the Americans in the Mexican-American war (and the Texas war of indepence from Mexico, and the other conflicts between them) a ready made image of hordes of bloodthirsty savages intent on cutting the hearts ...


1

This is mainly because the southern Native Americans had a reliable source of food (corn). The northern ones had to hunt and collect their food and didn't advance to farming that they could survive in one place, probably because they didn't have something with the right potential. Christopher Lloyd explains it all in his book "Alles in der Welt", English: ...


1

The ritual calendar(s) are quite detailed, with minor differences between cultures. The Maya were no special case in the following list, because the ritual calendar was more-or-less driven by the imperialism of the Aztec empire. Simply, the 'corners of the year' (solstices and equinoxes) were the major ritual times because the sacrifices governed the ...



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