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By | May 2011
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The Classic Period

| |Unlike the cultures of the Valley of Mexico, the only period in which the urban centers were | | |important to the Mayas was during the Classic period from 300 to 900 AD. The culture of the | | |Mayas, however, has little changed from the classic period to the modern period, for Maya | | |culture was largely tribal and rural all throughout the Classic period. What distinguishes | | |Classic from post-Classic Maya culture was the importance of urban centers and their structures | | |in the religious life of the Mayas and the extent of literate culture. | | | | | |   The Mayas were never a "true" urban culture; the urban centers were almost entirely used as | | |religious centers for the rural population surrounding them. Therefore, the decline of the urban| | |centers after 900 AD did not involve titanic social change so much as religious change; it is | | |believed by some scholars that the abandonment of the cities was primarily due to religious | | |proselytizing from the north. Nevertheless, the Classic period saw an explosion of cultural | | |creativity all throughout the region populated by the tribes we call "Mayan." They derived many | | |cultural forms from the north, but also devised many cultural innovations that profoundly | | |influenced all subsequent cultures throughout Mesoamerica. Much of Maya culture, particularly | |...

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