The Mayan Civilization Essay

The Mayan Civilization Essay

Length: 962 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Maya built enormous and elaborate stone temples, stela, and other stone structures within their cities. It was unknown for some time how exactly they managed to quarry and move these large stones due to the fact at the time it was not known what tools they possessed or how they were transported because the Maya did not use the wheel. Many of the large structures in ancient Maya cities in Central America were constructed from limestone blocks. It was important to determine the process by which the Maya built these structures, and the effort put forth, in order to estimate the labor force, the overall population in the area, the resources used, and how the environment was affected. James C. Woods and Gene L. Titmus from the Herrett Museum, working with the RAINPEG (Regional Archaeological Investigations in the Northern Peten, Guatemala) Project set out to known Mayan quarries, such as Nakbe, to investigate how these limestone blocks were quarried. Woods and Titmus found a large amount of broken, flaked stone bifaces that they concluded were used to cut and shape the limestone blocks. The two replicated their hypothesis about the cutting process by testing it with similar bifaces hafted on spears, which cut the limestone fairly easily. Thus, in the process of testing discovered their resulting toolmarks matched almost exactly to that of those in the ancient Maya quarries. They continued to repeat their process for several stones so to roughly calculate the labor, resources, and time required to construct the huge Maya structures. After their calculations were reviewed they came to the conclusion that a work force of nearly one thousand working half of each year over a period of up to four centuries would have been necessary to pr...


... middle of paper ...


...ke pattern, raising the fields out of the water and creating canals between them. The soil dredged from the canals was then recycled by adding it to the fields to maintain their fertility. These same canals were colonized by turtles and fish, which supplied the Maya with another food source. They Maya did extensively use the swidden system, but in addition also used a number of wild resources, such as deer and fruits for food. This balanced use of various techniques provided a unified system that was highly productive and worked well without destroying the rainforests. Our understanding of Maya agriculture is still incomplete, but more and more aspects are being uncovered due to the work of archaeologists and other various scientists (Sutton 354-355).



Works Cited

Mark Q. Sutton Archaeology: The Science of the Human Past, 4th Edition
Charles Phillips Aztec & Maya

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Mayan Civilization and Culture Essay

- The Ancient Mayan civilization contained nearly two-thirds of Mesoamerica. The area included mostly volcanic mountains to porous limestone, also referred to as the lowlands in the more central regions. Mayan civilization extended from Belize and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in the north, to Honduras in the south. What made the Mayans stand out to me the most, were their complex societies, which were built and modernized far ahead of its time in a tropical rainforest climate (Aissen, 1992). Normally, ancient populations lived in much drier climates, where irrigation practices served as the foundation of societies....   [tags: Mesoamerica, Mayan Golden Age, History]

Better Essays
1069 words (3.1 pages)

The Mayan Civilization Essay

- The Mayan civilization was located in southeastern Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. One of the first American civilizations, it lasted from about 1000 B.C.-1542 A.D. Their civilization flourished during the Sixth Century. They built many temples and over forty cities. The Mayan population consisted of almost fifteen million people who were all living in one of the many cities. The Mayan people were extremely religious and believed in multiple gods which meant they were polytheistic. Their most commonly worshiped god was the Maize God, or god of corn, as corn was the most grown and most relied on crop....   [tags: Maya civilization, Maya peoples, Guatemala, Mexico]

Better Essays
999 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about Mayans And The Mayan Civilization

- The Mayan Civilization was a very well developed civilization. Their way of life and how they survived is remarkable. The Mayans created several things that we use today. This civilization started small and expanded to a culture that still exists. The Mayans had strong beliefs in their gods.     The Mayan civilization began in South America. There are several states that are linked to the Mayans in South America. “ Present day southern Mexico, Guatemala, western Honduras, El Salvador, and northern Belize” (Maya History 1)....   [tags: Maya civilization, Mesoamerica, Olmec]

Better Essays
941 words (2.7 pages)

The Mayan Civilization Essay

- The Maya built enormous and elaborate stone temples, stela, and other stone structures within their cities. It was unknown for some time how exactly they managed to quarry and move these large stones due to the fact at the time it was not known what tools they possessed or how they were transported because the Maya did not use the wheel. Many of the large structures in ancient Maya cities in Central America were constructed from limestone blocks. It was important to determine the process by which the Maya built these structures, and the effort put forth, in order to estimate the labor force, the overall population in the area, the resources used, and how the environment was affected....   [tags: stone temples, stela, agriculture]

Better Essays
962 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on A Brief Look at the Mayan Civilization

- ... The most common place for Maya writing were the books that they created out of bark paper and lime to make it white. They bound each book with deer hide. Only four books containing Maya writing that deal with astronomical and calendric matters. Popol Vuh, the Maya Bible is one of the surviving books. Like other Mesoamerican people, the Maya used a number system where the first nineteen numbers were similar to that of our English numbers. They contain unique symbols for numerals one through ten and eleven through nineteen is a combination of the symbols for one through nine combined with ten....   [tags: ancient peoples of the Americas]

Better Essays
1538 words (4.4 pages)

The Tikal Mayan Civilization Essay

- Forgotten and lost, this city laid wrapped in vegetation, covered with forest it once commanded. Its temples as side trees, webbed with vines, and walls of ferns. Tropical rain lashing at the crumbling surfaces of stone architecture built by armies of workers. The darkness of the night guided by owls and the day by parrot shrieks. Statues of gods lay along the remaining stone hedges. It was not till 1839 the American lawyer John Lloyd Stephens and English artist Fredrick Caterwood, rediscovered the magnificence of the Tikal Mayan civilization....   [tags: Ancient History]

Better Essays
913 words (2.6 pages)

Ancient Mayan Civilization Essay examples

- Ancient Mayan Civilization The Ancient Mayan Civilization was built upon a rigid social structure based on their religious beliefs. They used a caste social structure in which divisions were based on wealth, inherited rank, privilege, profession, or occupation. Their beliefs were based on the fact that nature elements had the power to either help or harm. The Ancient Mayans used their social structure and beliefs to shape their daily lives. The Maya were a very religious people. They believed in many gods....   [tags: Pre-Columbian History Culture]

Free Essays
785 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on The Collapse Of Classic Maya Society

- Mayan people are still here today, but the mystery still remains: what caused one of the world’s greatest, most advanced ancient civilizations to fall to its demise. To this day, archaeologists from around the world cannot agree on what exactly caused the collapse of Classic Maya society because there is not just one cause, but multiple causes all interconnected to each other that serve only as a hypothesis for the time being. Some of the most popular theories are civil war, overpopulation, climate change, disease and invasion....   [tags: Maya civilization, Mayan languages, Guatemala]

Better Essays
990 words (2.8 pages)

Did the Mayan Civilization Collapse as a Result of Drought? Essay

- Ever since the collapse of the once powerful Maya civilization, people have been trying to find out what caused it. Authors of the article, "“Climate and the Collapse of Maya Civilization”", which include Gerald Haug, Detlef Günther, Larry Peterson, Daniel Sigman, Konrad Hughen, and Beat Aeschlimann propose a theory that the Mayans collapsed because of an extended dry period between 760 and 910 A.D. These scientists set out find the answer as to why the Maya civilization collapsed. This question is fairly popular and is often times answered by an extended drought, but they wanted to find geologic evidence of what the climate was like in the same time period hoping that there is an obv...   [tags: archaeology, world history, anthropology]

Better Essays
1024 words (2.9 pages)

The Invention of Chinampa Agriculture Essay

- “And when we saw all those cities and villages built in the water and other great towns on dry land, and that straight and level causeway leading to Tenochtitlan, we were amazed…Indeed, some of our soldiers asked if it was not all a dream,” a Spanish chronicler, Bernal Diaz del Castillo (Woodard), describes the beautiful capital of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlan, in awe of the city’s intricate landscape upon their Spanish arrival. The Aztecs were located in the Basin of Mexico, which is a part of Mesoamerica (Popper)....   [tags: Civilization, Mayan, Aztecs]

Better Essays
1191 words (3.4 pages)