The Maya Empire, centered in the tropical lowlands of what is now Guatemala, reached the peak of its power and influence around the sixth century A.D. The Maya excelled at agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar making, and mathematics. Most of the great stone cities of the maya were abandoned by A.D. 900, however, and since the 19th century scholars have debated what might have caused this dramatic decline.
Maya cities were the administrative and ritual centuries for regions which included the city itself and an agriculture hinterland. A Maya city from the classic period usually consisted of a series of stepped platforms topped by masonry structures, ranging from great temple-pyramids and palaces to individual house mounds. Maya cities were rarely laid out in neat grids, and appear to have developed in an unplanned fashion, with temples and palaces torn down and rebuilt over and over through the centuries.
The main ingredients of Ancient Mayan dishes were and still are corn/maize, black beans and squash. This basic diet has remained the same for centuries. It also includes fruits and vegetables known to most of the world such as avocado, pumpkin, papaya and mango to name a few.
Much of Maya history is shrouded in mystery. It is believed today that mayan peoples began to settle in the Yucatan area what is now Mexico between 2600 BC and 1800 BC. As the centuries rolled on, their culture and religion developed. Over 100,000 people lived in Maya
The ancient Maya are well-known for their exotic, vibrant, appearances and practice of unusual body modifications. They exploited the materials available to them in their tropical environments to manufacture colorful textiles and striking ornamentation.
To keep track of time, the maya observed and recorded the yearly cycles of the sun; including the times of equinoxes, solstices, and zenith and nadir passages.
The materials used for building Mayan structures were normally types of stone found in the area surrounding the city. Most commonly used was limestone. Limstone was plentiful in most of the Mayan settlements.
The Mayans practiced 'slash and burn' agriculture. They cut down an area of forest and burned down the tress. The Mayans sowed crops in May and Harvested them in november.
The Mayans developed a hierarchical government ruled by kings and priests. They lived in independent city-states consisting of rural communities and large urban ceremonial centers. The mayan leaders were the kings.
A map detailing the maya territory.
A timeline of maya History.