By: Dianne, Chilombo, Rizza

Agricultural Foundation of Mesoamerica

  • They consider corn as “god’s holy sunbeams”
  • corn was grown in the Maya area by 2000 B.C.
  • they believe that corn-like all plants- has inner life and soul
  • during earthquakes, they go out to the farm to comfort the disturbed plants.
  • the cultivation, harvest, and consumption of corn has been a sacred duty.
  • jaguars are kings of the forest, served as “co-essences”
  • they have howler monkey twins.
  • on rituals, snakes often appear

The Mayan Ball Game

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  • it is the reenactment of the Mayan myth of the Hero Twins.
  • the game was a combination of basketball, volleyball and soccer.
  • two teams of two to eleven player would play in the game.
  • the ball is six inches in diameter and made out of rubber.
  • have to keep ball in motion using your hips, thighs, and forearms. use of hands and feet weren’t allowed.
  • when a player successfully got the ball through the hoop, the spectators will have to give him clothing and jewelry.


  • Ballcourts were public spaces used for a variety of elite cultural events and ritual activities like musical performances and festivals, and of course, the ballgame.
  • The ball court itself was of a capital “I” shape.
  • In Classic Maya, the ballgame was called pitz
  • The action of play was ti pitziil.


  • Quiche Maya Popol Vuh recounts how the early men and women lived in perpetual darkness and prayed to the creator gods Huracan and Gumumatz to provide a sun to give them light to make their world safe and warm.
  • GIFT OF FIRE:Maya needs a fire which was given by Tohil. It was for winter time and before around to keep warm.
  • A DARK PAET:Maya groups clamored to Tohil to renew fire and he agreed to supply the golden flame on condition at future date
  • MAYA FOREBONDING:The books of Chilam Balam, an unsettling mix of prophecy, mythology and history keep members of the Yucatec Maya-also appeared to prophecy


  • Either catholic or public school, mayan are educated.
  • In Guatemala there are catholics who run a boarding school to those wants to learn beyond basic education.
  • Formal education that are available concerned most of the mayans because they might lose touch to their culture.


  • The modern Maya live in southeastern Mexico and northern Central America, including Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Great Doctors

  • Health and medicine among the ancient Maya was a complex blend of mind, body, religion, ritual, and science.
  • Medicine was practiced only by a select few who were given an excellent education.
  • called as Shamans
  • act as the medium between the physical and spirit world.


  • an important purification element to ancient Maya.
  • constructed with stone walls and ceilings,with a small opening on top of the ceiling.
  • Water poured onto the hot rocks in the room created steam, offering a setting in which to sweat out impurities.
  • Maya kings made a habit out of visiting the sweat baths as well because it left them feeling refreshed and, as they believed, cleaner.

Values and Customs

The Maya believed in a cyclical nature of time. The rituals and ceremonies were very closely associated with hundreds (possibly thousands) of celestial/terrestrial cycles which they observed and inscribed as separate calendars (all of infinite duration). The Maya shaman had the job of interpreting these cycles and giving a prophetic outlook on the future or past based on the number relations of all their calendars. If the interpretations of the shamans spelled bad times to come, sacrifices would be performed to change the moods of the gods.

They believed that the universe has three major planes; the underworld, the sky, and the earth. The Maya Underworld is reached through caves and ball courts. It was thought to be ruled by the aged Maya gods of death and decay. It was not considered a place of torture like the Christian hell. The Sun and Itzamna, both aged gods, ruled the Maya idea of the sky. The night sky was considered a window showing all supernatural doings. The Maya configured constellations of gods and places, saw the telling of stories in their seasonal movements, and believed that the connection of all possible worlds was in the night sky.


Female Clothing

The huipil is piece of clothing worn as a top by Mayan women since ancient times. it is a square or rectangular piece of cloth with a hole in the center. it is generally inflated around the neck, in the shape of a cross. The piece of clothing is then folded in half and stitched up at the sides. The stitching stops on the sides to allow for armholes. The huipil is worn over a skirt which is attached with a woven belt.

In the cooler mountainous areas, such as Chiapas, women wear a tzute. This rectangular cloth can be thrown across the shoulder for decoration, or secured around the as a shawl. During festivals, it is worn as a cape. in warmer months, it is used as a sun hat. women sometimes wear jewelry such as necklaces, rings, and earrings.

Male Clothing

For political and economic reasons, the costume of Maya men has changed more over the centuries. Although Maya women commonly wear the traditional huipil, Maya men have adopted more Spanish and modern influenced dress. Some traditional styles have been adapted to modern times.

Single men generally wear bright colored clothes than married men. In some cases, they wear a less decorated huipil over shirt. The shirts are decorated differently than woman's huipil. Men's belts are woven on a blue or red background, and sometimes decorated. The ends are fringed or have pompons.

Wider belts called mecapal are used to carry heavy loads. This cloth or leather strip has ends which are joined together by cord. The cord is used to secure the bundle and the strip is placed on the forehead.

Men also wear tzute, decorated with embroidery and worn over the shoulder. Men also wear hats, especially for ceremonial events, which vary by region. Some are straw hats decorated by ribbons or pompons. Men do not wear jewelry, but they carry a bag called a morral.

Many of the clothing made for both men and women was mostly made out of cotton. The women wore lots of jewlery. Men and women both like tattoos. Lots of them had them all over their body. Back then they only had little to make clothinging out of, like cotton pants/fields and animal skins and furs perhaps.
intereting fact: mayans people with flat faces, and eyes that were close together were thought to be very beautiful!

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female Huipil Tzute,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=38d442504ff3662f&biw=1280&bih=709


  • The Mayan script is logosyllabic combining about 550 logograms (which represent whole words) and 150 syllabograms (which represent syllables). There were also about 100 glyphs representing place names and the names of gods. About 300 glyphs were commonly used.
  • Examples of the script have been found carved in stone and written on bark, wood, jade, ceramics, and a few manuscripts in Mexico, Guatemala and northern Belize.
  • Many syllables can be represented by more than one glyph
  • The script was usually written in paired vertical columns reading from left to right and top to bottom in a zigzag pattern.

The Mayan syllabary

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Ancient Mayans

The Mayans most important thing in their civilization was religion. They worshipped the nature gods. They believed in every natural force that occurs in the world are these gods. Today, the aspects of Mayan religion are still practiced with a combination of traditional religion and Roman Catholicism. They made elaborate pyramidical temples for the nature gods. It is the place where they made rituals for human sacrifices and worshipped or prayed for the nature gods. The human sacrifices are usually orphans, slaves, captured enemy warriors, and criminals. These human sacrifices were made because the Mayans wanted the gods to be friendly towards them. Since Mayans had lots of knowledge about astronomy, they discovered Chak Ek’ (Venus). Mayans would schedule their human sacrifices when Venus was the dimmest.
Mayans believed he created humans with clay and then wood. But those did not work. So he made the “True people” out of water and maize and that’s why they worshipped Itzamna, he was the creator of them all.

there are 8 main gods : Quetzalcoatl- The God of peace, Chac – The God of Rain, Kukulcan – The God of Wind, Kinich Ahau – The God of Sun, Yaxche – The Tree of Heavens, Xibalba – The Underworld, and the Yum Cimil – God of Death. The Mayans main god was: Itzamná – the creator of the universe.
Mayan GOD

Social System
The Mayans had a Social System that consist of classes. These classes have responsibilities and rights to serve for their community. The class system was based on politics, sort of the government we have today. The Mayans always had a king/ruler that controlled the city. The king would collect taxes and had a hereditary right govern the city. He was responsible to build public works, creating alliance with other civilizations, and wages war to get human sacrifices to the gods. The king chose a councils of warriors or elders to help him rule the city. Once the king dies, he passes on the title to other family members.
The Nobles were usually war captains, town councilors, deputies, and speaker prophets. The Nobles would maintain order in the city and oversee the military. Nobles were beside the king.
Priests: High priests, priests, and executioner priests. These priests would perform ceremonies and rituals. Priests are also beside the king.
Peasants contributed with labour, food, and served in the army. The peasants made most of the Mayan society. They were big part in the Mayan civilization. Peasants were the middle/lower class.
Slaves were in the bottom class. Everyone treated them carelessly. Slaves would work in noble families or they worked in fields. Sometimes, slaves are human sacrifices to the nature gods.
The Mayan education was very different from ours today. Apparently, only the higher classes received education because they were far more superior than the lower classes. It wasn’t fair for the lower class people but they had to obey the kings order. Some people would even have secret hideouts and they would receive education secretly. If the king or higher classes find out they were receiving education but they are not suppose to, then they would be punished. They would go to jail or maybe even made into human sacrifices. No one likes to be sacrificed. The only way to be receiving education was being home schooled by family members or parents. The parents who have children would teach everything they know from their own experience. Education and information was always passed down generation to generation. Being taught about their religion was huge. Many people would not seem to be as successful without religion or education.

The Mayans were located in Central America. They mostly lived in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Northern/ Western Honduras, and Southern Mexico. Mayans lived in 3 different types areas: The Southern Maya highlands, the central lowlands, and the Northern Lowlands.
Mayans who lived on the highlands were far more safer than the Mayans who lived in the lowlands. Highlands had more mountains and rain in the area. But some mountains were volcanically active. The area of the land was 250 000sq. miles. Obviously, the highlands were much higher than the lowlands. The highlands were rocky, dry, and had a mountain range.
Lowlands aren’t so lucky. People who lived near the sea is affected by hurricanes and tropical storms by the Caribbean. The lowlands were tropical and had rainforest’s and dry grass. Animals were in those rain forests and they hunted them for food. That was there main source of food. The lowlands is where the classic Maya Civilization arose and Mayan people started to live in the highlands. The lowland had a area of 96 500 sq. miles.

Clothing and Fashion
The Mayan people had a good type of fashion. Men and Women cloth’s were all made out of cotton. They mostly made clothing out of cotton or any other fibres that were similar to cotton because they thought cotton was more sophisticated than other materials. All of their clothing were hand woven and were made from cotton and other fibres of cotton. Men and women fashions was wearing lots of jewelry.

Economics and Works

The Mayans grew natural crops. Agriculture was their main source for food. A lot of peasants would farm the land and do labour things to help and support the kingdom. Their main crop they would grow would be Maize (Corn). The Mayans relied on wood. Wood would helped them make tools. Examples of tools would be bows, handles, and levers. Mayans would wear lots of jewelry. Jewelry was made and crafted by using jade, other dark green stone. A lot of people would wear jewelry to make their appearance look fashionable. Women made jewelry, gathered the wood, and water for the family. Men did the manly things like farming. Men would also build temples. Temples were for worshipping the nature gods and they were made out of limestone. Women would use the natural dye from the indigo plant and the chochineal (bug). Indigo produced blue dye and the chochineal produced red. They used these types of dyes for clothing, art, etc.


As you know, The Mayans main source was Agriculture and they usually focused on that first. Peasants of the Mayan kingdoms would farm crops and grow them on cropland. Agriculture was very important to them and without it, they would be nothing. Men would do the farming because men were far more robust than the women. Men would do more of the outside work and women would do the inside work. They would grow their main crop and that is Maize (corn). It was a very important crop because they used it for food. Mayan people were so obsessed with corn, they even worshipped a God of Corn! They made pancakes out of corn and they were called tortillas. Mayans also planted other crops such as, squash, chocolate, tomatoes, chili's, and beans. They farmed these crops for food. Farmers also used plants and herbs to cure sickness among the people.

The Maya Collapse
Archaeologists think the Mayans abandoned their cities and left them to collapse because of famine. Archaeologists are still trying to find the true theory that explains why did the Mayans civilization collapse. Another theory says that the cause of the collapse was a drought. There was actually no universally accepted theory to explain this collapse. In 2011, the latest research they found was the area of forests were converted to cropland. It reduced evapotranspiration and rain fall came, and it thus making it a drought that collapsed the Mayan civilization. They do not know that for sure, but that’s a good theory to clarify the cause of the Collapse.

Political Structures
Every Mayan city polity consist of a hereditary ruler. The king would control the people and they would obey. If they did not obey, they will be punished. Priests helped run the government. One noble family would control a kingdom and when ever the king dies, he passes on the title to other family members. The most famous king of the Maya people was Lord Pacal. When his father died, he became king at the age of six. It didn’t matter if you were a young or inexperienced child. If that title was passed on to you, you are the king of your kingdom now. Each kingdom had a name that did not correspond to any locality within it’s territory. Kingdoms were no more than a capital city and they were considered Maya city-states. City-states were both independent and intertwined, everyone thought of themselves as one people. The government ruled themselves through a system of city-states. Overall, Mayan kings were very good leaders and they knew how to run a kingdom.


Mayan Ball Game
The Mayans had a ball game called Pok-a-Tok. Pok-a-Tok is a mix of soccer, basketball, and kickball. Each Mayan city had atleast one huge ball court and they would play a game. Captives would play this game and if they would lose, they would be sacrificed to the gods.

Values and Customs
Mayans had values and customs and they would follow them. One very common custom was sacrificing to the gods. Another was self torture. They would torture the criminals that were bad in society. They wouldn't kill them because that was not their custom. They would self torture them and watch them suffer. When Men did the farming for crop, they would always had dances to insure a good crop would be grown to life. Another ritual thing they did was ripping out the persons heart and offering it to the gods, or they throw the heart off a cliff.

By: Tri Le, Kade Belyk, Matt Moore. Dr. Martin LeBoldus Highschool.

Mayan Civilization True or False?’s

They created their own Hieroglyphics True False

They lived on the Caspian Boarder True False

They built the city of Machu Picchu True False

Only they can they are able to read their own calendar True False

The reason why their calendar ends at 2012 is because they ran out of space to continue

True False

Mayan Numerals

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Mayan civilization multiple choice questions

How many miles did their civilzation span?
A) 15,000 square miles
B) 25,000 square miles
C) 60,000 square miles
D) 85,000 square miles

How many mayans were there during the peak of its population?
A) 500,000
B) 5,000,000
C) 10,000,000
D) 13,000,000

How do the Mayans represent the number 15?
A) 3 dots
B) 3 lines
C) 2 lines 1 dot
D) 1 dot 1 line

Mayan history is divided into how many periods?
A) 2
B) 5
C) 3
D) 7

The Mayans used which advanced mathematical concept?
A) E=mc2
B) The concept of zero
C) The Pythagorean theorm
D) The bose higgson theory

The Maya Civilization
The Mayan civilization was one of the most advanced ancient civilizations that we know about. The whole of the Mayan region was where modern day Southern Mexico is right now. It stretched for 60,000 square miles all around and all the way to Central America. Another thing that is impressive is their very unique and complex calendar that they created. It was not for quite some time until someone figured out how to read and understand it. The Mayans were also very advanced and knowledgable when it came to astronomy. They were one of the first pre-telescopic civilizations to observe the Orion nebula. Another amazing thing about them was their ability to create colourful ceramics and pottery in a very certain way, and they have their very own set of numbers that are completely different from Roman numerals and not all that difficult to figure out and read, if you learn how to.
The Mayan’s are not all gone. There are an estimated 300,000 who speak the Mayan language language and a good portion of them are pure Maya in origion and the rest of them are either white or mixed. The Mayan language today mixes with Spanish language.
The Mayan history is split into three main categories: Pre classical, Classical and Post Classical. These three categories are grouped around the Mayan’s accomplishments and political structure. In the Pre classical period the Mayans settled and lived in small groups spread over a wide area of southern Mexico and northern Central America. They then became farmers growing corn. As the farmers formed villages then towns then small cities high ranking officials began to appear. Each of these regions or "kingdoms" was under the control of a halach unic or "true man". (1)
The emergence of a king marked the transition into the Classical period. For the next thousand years the principles of kingship dominated Maya life.
“Maya society was then organized much like European Kingdoms, including nobles, teachers, scribes, warriors, architects, administrators, craftsmen, merchants, laborers, and farmers.” (2)
The Mayans grew into three highly organized regions around 200 AD. This was now the Classical period and it lasted until about 1000 AD. During this time art, science, construction and the cosmology of the Maya reached new levels of excellence. (3)
The Mayans invented “rubberized rain clothing, barkless dogs and stingless honey bees.” (4) They built huge cities.
But wars and drought caused the downfall of the Mayans. This was the Post Classical period. Populations started to drop. “Tikal, a major city, was completely abandoned in the ninth century.” (5)

Maya Numbers and Mathematics

The number system we use today is based on the Arabic number system which was introduced to Europe during the Middle Ages (approximately 500 to 1500 AD). As European trade and scholarship spread the use of this system spread as well. This number system is based on the number 10 and the position of a number determines its value; when the digits are placed in a sequence they read as a number. (6) The Mayan system of numbers is much different. It is based on the number 20. Some people believe that the number 20 stood for being complete. If you had ten fingers and ten toes you were a whole person so this was the number the Maya chose as a base for their counting. (7)
“While we use our fingers for counting, the Maya used their fingers and their toes. For example, when referring to the number twenty, they would simply say, “one person.” Also, when referring to the number forty, they would say “two people.” (8)
The Mayan numbers also looked very different. They used a series of dots and lines to show the different numbers. In the chart below (9) you can see how this works.


The Mayan system of counting showed the numbers in a sequence going up and down not right to left. The higher the dots or lines were in the picture the higher the value based on a multiple of the number 20. So for example if one dot and one line represented six, a dot placed above it would represent 20. If they were placed in order the number would be 26.
Maya Science
The Maya looked to the sky for guidance but only the priests and rulers were able to tell what was going on. This meant they were able to tell everyone what to do. The ancient Maya built huge observatories to look at the stars. They were able to then develop calendars, up to 17 calendars in all of time and stars. (10)
“They could calculate solar eclipses and the alignment of Venus and other important planets. The pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichén Itzá was built to align with events in the sky. (11)
Using the Mayan calendars they knew when to hold ceremonies, when to plant crops and when to go to war. The life of a Mayan was ruled by the stars. Of all the world's ancient calendar systems, theirs are the most complex, intricate and accurate and “there was a special time of the year for everything.”(12)
The Mayans believed that the gods ruled the stars. The Mayans also believed that they needed to help the Gods run the stars by holding rituals. The rituals included human sacrifice and hurting themselves. If you died while hurting yourself it was ok because “death from such rituals conferred immortality on those who died.”(13)
Mayan Writing
In 1962 Mayan hieroglyphs were first catalogued. They wrote using hundreds of individual signs or glyphs that represented words or syllables that could be combined. There is no Maya alphabet like we have, just pictures and the pictures are very hard to read.
“This writing is very difficult to interpret for a number of reasons. The glyphs can represent both sounds or ideas. The glyphs must be combined with the context to know how each glyph actually reads.”(14)
Some books have survived but most Mayan literature was destroyed by early explorers and the church missionaries. A small collection of books called codices are still around.
The books that are still here are:
“The Dresden Codex (78 pages); The Madrid Codex (112 pages); The Paris Codex (22 pages); The Grolier Codex and the the Popol Vuh (15)
  2. ibid
  3. ibid
  4. ibid
  5. ibid
  7. article by Angelica Arellano on June 6, 2003
  8. ibid
  11. Ibid
  13. Ibid
  14. Ibid
  16. Ibid

By: Peter Hersche
The Ancient Mayans

The Mayans shared the same culture with other civilization. The Mayan writing was not the same as other civilizations and their calendars were not originally there’s. Their culture could be found everywhere in modern day México even thousands of km away their culture could be found. Trade would spread their culture, art and architecture.

Mayan Architecture

The ancient Mayans architecture was well know it was could the riches of the new world because the complexity of lots of art on there temples was amazing. The Mayans built lots of temples so that ment that the Mayans had to have lots of limestone. The Mayans built temples out of limestone and large amounts of concrete. The Mayans would sometimes build there temples facing each other. The Mayans would build there cities from west to east. The Mayans would always build there temples using astronomy. You can read more at this website
By Austin.R And Peter.H