Advanced Abilities of Ancient Maya, Aztec and Inca Civilizations

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“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This quote from Arthur C. Clarke nicely represents the admiration that studying the Mayan, Aztec and Incan civilizations can inspire. In the current age of technology it is very hard to imagine these ancient civilizations accomplishing their many deeds without any modern tools or computers. The Mayan, Aztec and Incan civilizations of Central and South America made major advancements in engineering, math, astronomy, writing agriculture, and trading. The Mayans lived in Southern Mexico and Central America in their capital, Tikal, which is in present day Guatemala. The Mayans were known for their engineering, one structure they were famous for is their pyramid temple in Tikal (Document 1). This pyramid was the tallest structure in the Americas up until the 20th century and is still standing today. The government must have been strong and well organized in order to carry out such a large task. The Mayan religion had multiple gods and this pyramid was most likely devoted to one or used as a place for sacrifices. Another accomplishment of the Mayans was the creation of their calendar. An extra document that would be useful is one that explains how the calendar was created. The Mayans must have studied astronomy and math to a great length. Similar to the Ancient Egyptians, they wrote with symbols and pictures known as glyphs that were used in the calendar. These glyphs were gods, such as Zotz (Document 2). The use of glyphs is an acknowledgement of a writing system, which is another accomplishment. The Aztec people began as a nomadic group on the shores of Lake Texcoco in modern day Mexico. They eventually settled on a marshy island on the lake w... ... middle of paper ... ...the mountains. This road allowed the empire to protect itself better because it was a quick route for the armies to travel from one end of the empire to the other (Document 5). These roads were both an engineering achievement and a government achievement. It was an engineering feat because they built roads and bridges from modern day Ecuador to the southern part of Chile. The government had to have been strong, similar to the building of the pyramid in Tikal. The Mayas developed a system of taxes, where the farmers were allowed to pay with food. The Aztecs eventually controlled most of Mexico, about 30 million people. The Incas domesticated llamas and alpacas and used them for transporting goods in mountainous terrain. These civilizations produced these results over a thousand years ago. Their accomplishments illustrate how advanced they were.

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