where did they live?
In its heyday from about A.D. 300 to 900, the Maya civilization boasted hundreds of cities across a vast swath of Central America. Now archeological sites, these once-flourishing cities extended from Chichén Itzá in the northern Yucatán to Copán, about 400 miles to the south in modern-day Honduras. Each bore ceremonial centers where theocratic rulers practiced a complex religion based on a host of gods, a unique calendar, and ceremonies that featured a ball game and human sacrifice. The ancient Maya also mastered astronomy, mathematics, art and architecture, and a glyph system of writing on stone, ceramics, and paper. Using the labels on or below the map at left, visit 15 of the better-known Maya sites.
how was their society organised?
Class Society: The Maya had a class society. There were slaves, peasants, craftsmen, nobility, priests, and leaders. There were also warriors. At the top were the nobles and priests. The middle class had the craftsmen, traders, and warriors. At the bottom were farmers, other workers, and slaves.
Craftsmen: The Mayas wove beautiful fabrics. They made musical instruments like drums, shell horns, and castanets. Their statues were incredible and huge. Archaeologists can tell a great deal about the ancient Maya from their wonderful pottery and well crafted clay figures. The art they created honored their gods, their leaders, and their daily life.
Slaves: Slaves were people who were captured from warring tribes. Slaves worked in the homes of noble families. Some slaves cared for the children. Some cleaned the house. Still others worked in the fields.
How were their main ecomonic activities?
EconomicsAgriculture was a vital contributor to the economy in many ancient Maya communities. In fact, the majority of scholars believe that decline in many of the central lowland populations during the Late Classic and Terminal Classic periods was partially due to agricultural deficiency.
What kind of food did they eat?
The Maya diet focused on four primary domesticated crops (staple foods): maize, squash, beanstepary beans or common beans) and chili pepper. The first three cultivates are commonly referred to in North America as the "Three Sisters" and, when incorporated together in a diet, complement one another in providing necessary nutrients. (typically
Once nixtamalized, maize was typically ground up on a metate and prepared in a number of ways. Tortillas, cooked on a comal and used to wrap other foods (meat, beans, etc.), were common and are perhaps the most well-known pre-Columbian Mesoamerican food.
An alternative view is that manioc was the easily-grown staple crop of the Maya and that maize was revered because it was prestigious and harder to grow.
Several different varieties of beans were grown, including pinto, red, and black beans. Other cultivated crops, including fruits, contributed to the overall diet of the ancient Maya, including tomato, chili peppers, avocado, breadnut, guava, guanabana, mamey, papaya, pineapple, pumpkin, sweet potato, and xanthosoma. Chaya was cultivated for its green leaves. Chayote was cultivated for its fruit, and its tender green shoots were used as a vegetable.
How were your governmentGovernment was an important part of the Maya civilization. Priests ran governments, ruled cities, led ceremonies and performed many other jobs.
Maya priests were also the rulers of cities. Every day they would perform services after climbing the hundreds of temple steps. Maya priests might have caused the collapse of the Maya when the lesser Mayas (farmers) got tired of having to obey the commands of the priests and abandoned the cities.
One of the most famous Maya rulers was Lord Pacal. He became a king at the age of 6 and legally took the throne at 12. Pacal was a priest/ruler/king for about 50 years before he died. When his tomb was discovered he was wearing a jade death mask. To the left is a picture of a recreation of the death mask.
In what ways the three civilzacion were similar or different?
The economy (had) several types of money were in regular use. Small purchases were made with cacao beans, which had to be imported from lowland areas. In Aztec marketplaces, a small rabbit was worth 30 beans, a turkey egg cost 3 beans, and a tamal cost a single bean. For larger purchases, standardized lengths of cotton cloth called quachtli were used. There were different grades of quachtli, ranging in value from 65 to 300 cacao beans. One source stated that 20 quachtli could support a commoner for one year in Tenochtitlan.
The main resources available to the Inca Empire were agricultural land and labour, mines (producing precious and prestigious metals such as gold, silver or copper), and fresh water, abundant everywhere except along the desert coast. With careful manipulation of these resources, the Incas managed to keep things moving the way they wanted.
Agriculture was a vital contributor to the economy in many ancient Maya communities. In fact, the majority of scholars believe that decline in many of the central lowland populations during the Late Classic and Terminal Classic periods was partially due to agricultural deficiency.