Mayan civilization contributions

Mayan Civilization
March 23, 2017 – 04:07 pm
Contributions of the Mayan
A fresco mural at Bonampak in Chiapas, Mexico

The Maya civilization is a Mesoamerican culture, noted for having the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its spectacular art, monumental architecture, and sophisticated mathematical and astronomical systems. Unfortunately, a public fascination with the morbid has meant that for many people in Europe and the Americas the ancient Mayans are perhaps best known for their use of their pyramids in public bloodletting rituals.

Initially established during the Preclassic period, many of the Mayan's cultural features reached their apogee of development during the following Classic period (c. 250 to 900), and continued throughout the Postclassic period until the arrival of the Spanish in the 1520s. At its peak, the Mayan Civilization was one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world.

The Maya civilization shares many features with other Mesoamerican civilizations due to the high degree of interaction and cultural diffusion that characterized the region. Advances such as, and El Salvador). Many outside influences also are found in Maya art and architecture, which are thought to result from trade and cultural exchange rather than direct external conquest.

The Maya peoples did not entirely disappear at the time of the Classic period decline nor with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and the subsequent Spanish colonization of the Americas. Rather the people have tended to remain in their home areas. Today, the Maya and their descendants form sizable populations throughout the Maya region and maintain a distinctive set of traditions and beliefs that are the result of the merger of pre-Columbian and post-Conquest ideologies (and are structured by the almost total adoption of Roman Catholicism). Many different Mayan languages continue to be spoken as primary languages today; the "Rabinal Achí, " a play written in the Q'eqchi' language, was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.

Origins

The Maya started to build ceremonial architecture around 1000 B.C.E. Among archaeologists there is some disagreement regarding the borders at that time period and the difference between the early Maya and their neighboring Pre-Classic Mesoamerican civilization, the Olmec culture. Eventually, the Olmec culture faded after spreading its influence into the Yucatan peninsula, present-day Guatemala, and other regions.

The Maya developed the famed cities of Tikal, Palenque, Copán, and Kalakmul, as well as Dos Pilas, Uaxactun, Altun Ha, Bonampak, and many other sites in the area. They developed an agriculturally intensive, city-centered empire comprising numerous independent city-states. The most notable monuments of the city-states are the pyramids they built in their religious centers and the accompanying palaces of their rulers. Other important archaeological remains include the carved stone slabs usually called stelae (the Maya called them Tetun, or "Tree-stones"), which depict rulers along with hieroglyphic texts describing their genealogy, war victories, and other accomplishments.

The Maya participated in long-distance trade in Mesoamerica and possibly to lands even further afield. Important trade goods included cacao, salt, and obsidian.

Art

Mayan jadeite "pectoral."

Many consider Mayan art of their Classic Era (200 to 900 C.E.) to be the most sophisticated and beautiful of the ancient New World.

The carvings and stucco reliefs at Palenque and the statuary of Copán are especially fine, showing a grace and accurate observation of the human form that reminded early archaeologists of Classical civilization of the Old World, hence the name bestowed on this era.

Source: www.newworldencyclopedia.org
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