Mayan archeology


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Mayan archeology

  1. 1. Mayan Archeology By: Grant Maclachlan I am an archeologist studying the Maya culture. I’m at some of the ruins that the Maya built. Let’s take a look around. You can see the hieroglyphs that the Maya carved into their buildings and temples. The hieroglyphs tell stories about what was happening in the time that the hieroglyphs were made. Here are some examples of some of them etched into some stone. Religon is very important to everyone, but it was especially important to the Mayan people because they worshiped and believed in so many gods. The Mayan people once saw Venus in the sky for 260 days straight, which meant war was coming. To try to stop the coming war, the Mayan people started to do human sacrifices. In the human sacrifice, they cut open the person’s chest, and they ripped the heart out and placed it in a cup. It was believed that once the heart had dried up in the cup, a god had ‘eaten’ the heart. This is a picture of one of the 4 surviving
  2. 2. codices (or books). It tells all about the ritual of human sacrifice and the Mayan people’s religion. Mayan art was very detailed and treasured. Their most treasured material was jade. The Mayans carved masks out of jade for the rulers. They also made vases that had detailed pictures and sometimes the vases even told stories. Here is an example of a Mayan vase.
  3. 3. Mayan government rulers were loved and believed almost as much as gods. There were 16 rulers that ruled Copan. The most famous of them all was Lord Shield. He was the most known and remembered ruler. One day some explorers were walking down this hallway, and they found a secret stairway under the floor. They walked down the stairs and they found a limestone coffin. They opened it up and inside was Lord Shield! He was one of the only preserved Mayan mummies. This is a portrait of him. The Mayan’s architecture was amazing. They could build temples in a quick amount of time. Some uses for these pyramids were for human sacrifices, burial grounds, or just for the public to walk around in. The Mayans even built temples and pyramids that would cast a shadow on the steps of the pyramid or temple if it was sunny out on a religious day. This is a picture of a pyramid that could cast a shadow.
  4. 4. I bet you’re wondering what Mayan daily life was like. Well, most of the women got up at 4 o’clock to make breakfast for the men. At 5 o’clock, the men went out to farm. While the men were at work, the women stayed home and prepared for the next meal. But on the children’s 14th birthday, there would be a ceremony. As a baby, the children’s parents would attach a bead to a boy’s hair, and a string to a girl’s waist. At the ceremony, the bead and the string were cut off and the children were considered adults. They moved out of their parent’s house. There was also a ball game that the Mayans played. The game was called Pok-ta-pok. In this game, players wore protective pads like the ones used in present day football. The players tried to get a rubber ball through a small ring, but they couldn’t use their hands or feet. Do you think they played this game for fun? Well, the losers were often killed! Here are some Pok-ta-pok players.
  5. 5. The Mayans were very advanced in math. They could build pyramids that cast shadows on certain parts of the pyramids on certain days. They knew about constellations. But one of their most amazing discoveries was their calculation on how long a year was. The Mayans estimated that a year was 365.2420 days long. But using the latest technology, we calculated that a year is 365.2422 days long. The Mayan’s guess was very close to the actual. The Mayan calendar was also very interesting. It consisted of 18 months, and the months were sometimes named after gods. I brought in a replica of one, but here is a picture. You can see that they are very detailed.
  6. 6. To end this report, our last topic is about what happened to them. Well, actually no one is sure about what happened to them. I think some Spaniards invaded their culture. Other people suggest that there was a famine, disease, drought, or even a civil war! One of the reasons we don’t know about their culture is because Spaniards burnt almost all of the Mayan’s books. And people stopped making pillars that told stories. In fact, they abandoned many unfinished things including sculptures of animals. Here is a picture of an unfinished sculpture of a bull.
  7. 7. Well, that wraps up my report all about the Maya. I hope that you learned lots of facts, and enjoyed my report!