Mayan Civilization: Tikal

Topics: Maya civilization, Mesoamerican chronology, Tikal Pages: 4 (1195 words) Published: October 18, 2010
Mayan Civilization: Tikal
The Maya are among the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica. Mayan history starts back in the Yucatan dating around 2600 B.C., Mayan history rose to prominence around A.D. 250 in what is present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, western Honduras, El Salvador, and northern Belize. The Mayans were able to develop astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing, and were noted for their construction of elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture. Mayan history consists of three distinct time periods; Classic period (300 - 900 A.D.), Post classic period (1000 – 1500 A.D.), and the Post Columbian period (1500 A.D.). Among these the Classic period is the most artistically and culturally distinguished. The major cities of the Classic period were Tikal (Guatemala), Palenque and Yaxchiln (Chiapas, Mexico), Copan and Quirigua (Honduras).

The ancient Maya city of Tikal is located in the heart of the Department of Peten in the present country of Guatemala. It is a heavy tropical rainforest area not well suited for the human kind to live off of but it somehow flourished. Tikal is the largest most powerful and wealthiest of all the lowland Maya cities. The city was established at around 800 B.C. “It is estimated to have had a peak population of 100,000 to 200,000 with an urban density of 600 to 700 people per square kilometer” (CyArk.com). Tikal was the dominant epicenter where most of the market transaction of the Mayan empire occurred but it as well was limited due to its geographic location. Tikal was ultimately believed to be conquered and overtaken by Teotihuacan in the late classic period due to findings that no new monuments were built and evidence that elite palaces were burned down.

Among the Tikal settlement a hierarchal system exists placing a class structure. This structure consisted of the typical classes the elite, specialist class, commoners, and the slave class. The elite class consisted of...
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