Questions tagged [maya]

For questions about the Maya civilization and the Maya peoples of Central America.

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Why is the Maya civilization not considered one of the cradles of civilization?

I don't have a background in history, but I've been doing some reading about the Mayans on Wikipedia, and there's something I'm confused about. The "cradles of civilization" page on ...
T Hummus's user avatar
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3 answers
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Was the symbol post-classical Mayans used to represent zero really derived from a depiction of a turtle shell?

The Wikipedia page on Mayan numerals mentions the symbol for zero is an upside down turtle shell. It is not clear from the symbol itself that it is a turtle shell, and I'm not able to find any source ...
user1301930's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
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Has there been significant progress in our knowledge of the Aztecs and/or Maya since the '60s?

[Would it be possible to know why the question has been downvoted? So that I can improve future ones] The question comes from the fact that I found I have at home Aztecs of Mexico by George Vaillant. ...
Matteo's user avatar
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20 votes
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Why are some later Mayan scripts unintelligible to archaeologists, while earlier ones can be read?

Many of the [Maya's] greatest cities emptied, as did much of the countryside around them. Incredibly, some of the last inscriptions are gibberish, as if scribes had lost the knowledge of writing and ...
Ne Mo's user avatar
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3 votes
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What events led to the Aztecs and Mayans adopting cocoa beans as a currency?

I read how the Aztec Empire and the Mayans used cocoa beans as a currency but bartered before hand. I know records for these civilizations are rare, but do we have any record of certain historical ...
Tyler Mc's user avatar
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Where was the Ixcanha Maya community located during the Caste War of the Yucatán?

There is mention of a Mayan community of about a thousand people during the Caste War of the Yucatán who refused to break with the Catholic Church. I am trying to figure out where their community was ...
Ryan Williamson's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
84 views

What kind of canoes were used in 19th century Yucatán?

I’m specifically curious about seagoing canoes along the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the mid-1800’s. Were they still typically of the dugout variety, or had they evolved to canvas on a wood ...
Ryan Williamson's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
293 views

Did the Maya civilization recognize that it was into an ecological crisis?

As I currently read so much about pessimistic ecological forecast of today's society, I'm wondering if the Maya or eastern islands society became aware of their heading into or state of an ecological ...
user48953094's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
856 views

Why and how did climate change affect the Mayan civilization?

Why and how did climate change affect the Maya empire? I thought climate change was a modern problem so I'm confused when my World History textbook says that its one of the reasons for the decline of ...
Michael Sinn's user avatar
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109 views

Who was the Halach Uinik of Can Pech?

Who was the ruler (Halach Uinik) of the pre-conquest Mayan state (Kuchkabal) of Can Pech around the beginning of the 16th century? If not the individual, the dynasty?
Khorps's user avatar
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How reliable is a Maya codex facsimile?

I've found an online copy of William Gates' reproduction of the Dresden codex written in 1932. Some websites say that his reproduction is rather too stylistic to be a reliable facsimile of the codex. ...
Pablo Ivan's user avatar
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3 answers
3k views

How is the accuracy of the Maya Calendar measured?

It is taken as a fact in many books and specialized publications that the Maya calendrical system - the Haab' and the Tzolk'in - was more accurate and closer to the real solar year than the Gregorian ...
Pablo Ivan's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
9k views

Was there contact between the Inca, Maya and Aztecs?

Were these three cultures aware of each others existence? Did they trade with one another?
user22453's user avatar
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490 views

What type of name did the common Mayans use?

We know that most of the lord (ajaw) used to have names related to the sun, the earth or important animals. See for example the rulers of Copan. Do we have any idea if it was the same for every ...
JSFDude's user avatar
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Why are doomsday predictions for 2012 seen as incompatible with historical Maya mythology/religion?

Interpretations of the Maya calendar that the world might end on date 13.0.0.0.0, Dec 21 2012, were often roundly dismissed as having no historical basis and being inconsistent with Maya beliefs. See ...
0range's user avatar
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2 votes
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398 views

What were the major ethnic / cultural / politcal divisions of pre-conquest Mesoamerica?

Background: I've started a bit of side reading on Mesoamerica immediately prior to the Spanish conquest. The Maya, the Aztecs, and (to the south) the Inca all seem very straightforward to me, but (as ...
Random's user avatar
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Why were the Maya's cities abandoned? [duplicate]

I actually have done research on the Maya, the Inca, and the Aztecs, but I'm wondering about a specific question that we had to study on flashcards for a test on a few days ago, which stated, " What ...
Myriam's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
3k views

Did Cahokia have any communication with Mexica or Mayan civilization?

It's roughly 2,000 kilometers from St. Louis to modern Mexico city, as the crow flies; a little farther to the Yucatan. The Mississippi river and the Gulf of Mexico provide reasonably direct water ...
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6 votes
6 answers
13k views

Why were northern Native Americans less urban than central or southern?

I was taught that the Native Americans (both North, then South) primarily came down from Canada from what is now Russia. Whether or not that is true, why did the Native American civilizations from the ...
CGCampbell's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
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What led to the romantic perception of the Mayan civilization?

When the territories of the Mayan civilization were conquered in Mesoamerica, the European priests burnt all the books and references they could find about the Mayan culture. It was not until 1839 ...
Pierre Arlaud's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
4k views

Specialization of labor among the ancient Maya

How specialized were laborers among the ancient Maya? Would the same person dig irrigation ditches and plant corn? Would the same person go into battle and hunt in the forest? Would jade carvers go ...
Joe's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
325 views

What was the city of El Mirador called in Mayan?

El Mirador was a major city in the Yucatan during the Preclassic Mayan era. The name is obviously Spanish. What was it called by the ancient Maya?
Joe's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
323 views

How did the Mayans get cacao?

Did the Mayans have plantations of cacao trees, or did they simply gather the fruit from cacao trees in the wild?
Joe's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Which days in the Mayan calendar were most auspicious for performing sacrifices?

In Classic Mayan civilization, human sacrifices were performed. I've read that there were days that were more and less auspicious for sacrifices, but I haven't been able to find out which days those ...
Joe's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
350 views

Did the Mayans view the gods as antagonistic to humanity?

How did the precolonial Maya view their gods' relationship to mankind, specifically: were they considered benevolent, neutral, or antagonistic? I've seen a number of hints that they may have ...
Joe's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
1k views

Was Classic Mayan civilization really so gruesome?

(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 ...
Joe's user avatar
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18 votes
1 answer
12k views

What really happened to the Maya civilization?

Are there any reliable sources that explain the "disappearance" of the Maya? I am highly skeptical about the following account as it states that the cities were destroyed by the war when in ...
Jose Luis's user avatar
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