Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now

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25

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 ...


14

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 ...


11

Is climate change a "modern problem"? No. Climate change is far from a modern problem, although some of what follows is disputed and is also simplified. The Late Antiquity Little Ice Age from around 536 to 660 AD is one example of climate change. An article in Nature Geoscience argues that, in Europe and Asia, this coincides with rising and falling ...


9

I do not know your version of the codex. No reliability assessment from me. Looking for the Dresden Codex it is best to go to the source: Dresden. The Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB) has the codex and it has digitised it: Der Dresdner Maya-Codex (direct link to codex / in English): is the oldest and best preserved book of the Maya ...


8

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

It won't tell you much about short-term politics, but one useful angle with which to look at this question is the linguistic division into language families: The languages of Mesoamerica belong to 6 major families – Mayan, Oto-Mangue, Mixe–Zoque, Totonacan, Uto-Aztecan and Chibchan languages ....


7

If we look at the rest of the world, it seems city building civilizations require large population growth which is sustainable through farming. Quite simply, if you can't feed a city, the city will fail. Additionally, in colder regions people need to move to warmer regions with more food in the winter, unless they can store food in sufficient quantities to ...


7

According to the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies (FAMSI), William Gates' facsimile is very pleasing to the eye, colorful, and uses his own type-font for all the glyphs. I can't say that it is the most accurate rendition, but it is fun to look at. The site mentions a number of other facsimiles, including In 1975, the ...


6

Maya society was organized in city states and clans and possibly other entities. Each of these naturally provides its own narratives and mythology from which names would often be chosen. It is therefore common that multiple individuals from similar contexts, e.g. multiple rulers of the same polity, would have similar or identical names. For instance, several ...


5

The Mexica The epicenter of Mesoamerica was the "The Triple Alliance", this was dominated by the ruling tribe, the Mexica (the people from Aztlan- Aztec). Note: They weren't actually the Aztecs. Also, the peak of Mayan civilization, pre-Classical Maya (2000 BCE - 250 CE) didn't exist during the same time as the "Aztecs", they were politically fragmented ...


5

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 ...


5

There is a nice short summary of pre-Columbian trade in the Amreicas by David Carballo. It looks like Cahokian trade was focused on the North American landmass and did not extend to Mesoamerica in a significant way. From the text: Following the adoption of Mexican maize as a primary domesticate, a Mississippian trading system began to flourish within ...


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

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 ...


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, ...


4

No. The environment as a scientific concept is relatively new. You can argue when it became first known, but before 1900 is - in my opinion - pushing it. The Mayas and Pacific islanders were many centuries before that level. They thought the gods did it.


3

The Gregorian, and indeed the Roman, Egyptian, and Chinese calendars all include occasional intercalary periods to make up the 0.24 of a solar day that is left over when using a 365-day calendar. These systems count solar years more accurately than the Mayan calendar. The Tzolk'in at 260 days seems unrelated to the solar year; the Haab''s length of 365 days ...


3

This article on Pre-Columbian Trade by Chester S. Chard would suggest they did. For instance: There is no evidence that Maya traders themselves reached the highlands of Mexico; they traded their goods in the great commercial center of Xicalango, whence others carried them on. It is reported that the merchants of Xicalango furnished Cortez with fairly ...


3

Aztecs did know about Mayas but the Mayan civilization was already dead. But of course, they did traded with its descendants - even prehistoric men traded with their neighbours. And no direct contacts for the contemporary Incas civilization. https://www.quora.com/Did-the-Aztecs-Mayas-and-Incas-know-about-each-other-Did-they-communicate-between-them The ...


2

I think this was always regarded as an ending to a metaphysical era more than a physical ending within the Mayan calendar. I had this described to me as a cycle in humanity's heart beat as one beat flows into the next (claiming the world ends would be the equivalent of the heart ends after it beats once and not acknowledging that it exists to beat again). ...


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 ...


2

It appears that the real demise of the Mayan Empire was a number of factors, including drought, warfare, and disease. NASA archaeologist 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 ...


1

As a one time interpretive guide at the Gila national monument in New Mex, a puebloan, Mimbres cliff community, I was able to pick up a few 'trade secrets', as it were. Its pretty much confirmed that a good amount of trade existed between meso-america and the S.W. US, namely with the puebloan ancestors like the Anasazi, Mimbres, and Hohokam. The god Tlaloc ...


1

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. ...


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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