Discoveries Of The Mayan Civilization
Central Acropolis. Source: (wikipedia.org)
The Mayans were highly skilled in many areas including math, engineering, architecture, astronomy, and writing. While many discoveries have been made regarding their civilization and their unusual way of life, much knowledge and skills can be taken from them as well.
Located in the northern rain forest of Guatemala, Tikal was one of the Mayan sites that had massive architecture from as far back as the 4th century B.C. The Central Acropolis site is quite complex with buildings like palaces, courtyards, and small temples. It is believed that small rooms were used for ritualistic ceremonies. The entire area was once 6.2 square miles with 3,000 erections and 90,000 occupants. The Mayan civilization, at that time, was quite domineering in the political world as well as in the economic arena and in the military. Eventually, though Tikal lost its influence as well as its population when it became a desolate place by the year 950 A.D.
The El Castillo temple, located in Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico, was a pyramid that the Mayans dedicated to their god Kukulkan or the serpent god. This god was a war serpent as well as a vision serpent who oversaw sacrifices. This pyramid was built between the 9th and 12th centuries and built up to 98 feet high with a base of 181 feet square. There are 91 stairs on each side of the pyramid. The four sides equal 364 steps and with the platform at the top, it is 365 which equals the days of the year. On each side are also 52 rectangular panels which equal the 52 weeks of the year.
Another sacred place to the Mayans was a place called Uaxactun located in Peten, Guatemala just 12 miles north of Tikal. During the Early Classic era, Uaxactun kept up temple constructions and carving of monuments as well as rich burials but, like Tikal, towards the end of the Late Classic era, the population had decreased until the place was completely abandoned. The last monument was dated in 889.
This structure is the probable site that contains the tomb of Ukit Kan Le’k Tok’ who was a ruler in Ek’ Balam. It is also referred to as El Trono or “The Throne.” The doorway was made like the mouth of a Jaguar. Ek’ Balam, which is near Cancun and Chichen Itza, is a popular place to take a tour because of the pyramids -- especially this main pyramid which is quite unique in its design. It is 96 feet in height and tourists can climb all the way to the top.
An ancient Mayan court residence was discovered by archaeologists in 1996 in Guatemala and named La Corona. It was determined later that it was the location of what was referred to as “Site Q,” where historical artifacts with a different artistic style were found. In 2005, a Yale professor named Marcello A. Canuto found evidence that proved the site was indeed the Site Q.
Just recently, within the last year or so, archaeologists found a 1,500-year-old Mayan altar here. Found in the jungle, this altar was carved out of limestone and was 4.8 feet by 3.9 feet. An image of the Maya king, Chak Took Ich’aak with a double-headed serpent was carved on it. There was also a column of hieroglyphs that recorded the date which would be May 12, 544 A.D.