Mayan Civilization By: Claire B., Paris D., Caitlin H., Kirstin N., Kensie S., Sammy T. The Highlands (south) Forested mountains/ valleys. Some mountains were active volcanoes. Rich volcanic soilvery easy for things to grow. Cool climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The Lowlands (north) The northern half was dry and flat. The southern was wetter and greener. A dense rain forest covered the land. Lots of tall trees/ numerous wildlife Settlement Struggles • The soil on the rain forest floor made it difficult to grow crops. • Hot steamy climate. • Enormous amount of rainfall-up to 80in.per year. • The Mayas relied on a farming technique called slash- and-burn agriculture. This technique produced enough food to feed the Mayas. The Lost Cities In 1839 John L. Stephens and Frederick Catherwood discovered numerous Mayan ruins buried underneath thick jungle growth. (This jungle growth made it difficult to locate the ruins.) Mayan Periods Pre Classic Mayans Classic Mayans Lasted from 1800 B.C to A.D 250. The Mayas developed the skills that brought their civilization to its peak during this time. Lasted from A.D 250 to A.D 900. The Mayan built numerous cities during this time. Rich, vibrant culture Complex societies developed Post-Classic Mayans Lasted from A.D 900 to A.D 1520 The civilization fell into ruin during this time due to Warfare, food shortages, and natural disasters Religious beliefs/Practices • The Mayans were very religious people who worshiped many Gods • (Most of) The Gods represented natural phenomena. (e.g.- rain, snow, lightning.) • Blood sacrifices/ human sacrifices were important rituals to the Mayans • Many festivals were held throughout the year Warfare and Family Life • Family life – – – – Most were peasant farmers Men worked the field, women did household jobs Extended family lived in a cluster of houses Would attend a ballgame or a festival for entertainment • Warfare – Went to war to take captives, and to control trade routes and to take land from neighbors – Also formed alliances to increase power Achievements Astronomy- plotted positions of the sun and moon and used the long count to see eclipses. Made 365 day calendar. Math- had an advanced number system, understood zero, and it was flexible enough to multiply and divide Writing- Most advanced in ancient the Americas, carved and painted writing. It was based on hieroglyphs Achievements Architecture- best known for architecture. Built roads to connect the city. Built them in large stone blocks. Pyramids were 100s of feet in the air with temples at the top. Visual arts- buildings were elaborately decorated with sculptures inside and out. Created fine jewelry. Had impressive stone pillars called Stelas.