The Mayans were advanced in their use of mathematics and renowned for the accuracy of their calendar. Classical Mayan civilisation is dated to between the years AD. During this period as many as 40 great city states developed, with most ranging in population from 5, to 50, people. Some authorities suggest that Tikal may have had a population of up to , people by 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 AD.
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. 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.
The Mayan calendar had three aspects: The civil and religious calendar worked together in 52 year cycles. The baktun was a cycle of years. Mayan mathematics was also highly advanced and the use of zero meant that lengthy and complex calculations could be accurately completed. Mayan religion influenced most areas of life.
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.
Access thousands of brilliant resources to help your child be the best they can be. This area included highland and lowland settlements and a variety of climate zones. Crops grown in the lowlands were traded for mineral ores and rocks from the mountainous areas. Although the Mayans had metal-working skills , metal ores were scarce.
Mayans used stone tools to carve the limestone that they used for their buildings. The Mayans did not use wheels or pulleys for their building projects. They did not have draught animals capable of heavy labour.
Building materials were transported by human porters or canoes. Archaeological evidence suggests that Mayan settlement in Mesoamerica probably dates from the third millennium BC.
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