Mesoamerica: Maya Civilization and City

Topics: Maya civilization, Aztec, Mesoamerica Pages: 8 (2972 words) Published: May 19, 2008

Jade-1500 BC- Jade was starting to be used and was first being worshiped. In 1500 BC a Jade Head was found in Altun Ha ruins. The ruins are now famous because of the famous discovery. At approximately six inches high and weighing over nine pounds the Head is the still said to be the largest carved jade object in the whole Maya area. It is the national symbol of Belize, which is visible on every banknote. The “Jade Head” represented the Sun God, Kinich Ahau. This is the most significant find.

Olmecs- 1200 BC
The Olmecs were a culture of ancient people of the East Mexico lowlands. The Olmec were often regarded as the Mother Culture of later Middle American civilizations. A stone found is believed to be a calendar numbered using The Vigesimal counting system. The detail on the low relief of the stone shows detail from a four-digit numerical recording, read as The counting system had been used across Mesoamerica. The value 5 is represented by a bar, where the value of 1 is represented by a dot. Where 3 bars and a single dot stand the value would equal 16. The Maya would later adopt this counting system for their Long Count calendar. The date in this relief is the oldest date recorded in Mesoamerica, corresponding to a day in the year 31 BC.

Tikal- 800 BC
The tomb of the Jade Jaguar at Tikal included the largest pyrite mosaic mirror found in all of Mesoamerica, the greatest number of pottery vessels of any Late Classic Maya burial known in the lowlands. Another amazing aspect of Mayan life was the use of the stone stela that dot the ancient city. Seen here in the great plaza, the massive stones were used to record the events of the time. Many are covered with glyphic writing, and pictures. Over 200 stone stela, altars and glyphic stones have been discovered in the city Though the Maya did not create sculpture-in-the-round, they did create exquisite relieves that paid tribute to past rulers and recorded the passage of time-a concept they obsessed over. These textual stones, many of which have been erased from erosion, were once covered in bright red paint, the colour that dominated much of the city. The stones provide much of the evidence that archaeologists have used to decipher the intricacies of life in the ancient Mayan civilization. Though they are not completely understood, ongoing research of the glyph-covered tablets continues to provide new revelations about the ancient Maya.

Zapotecs- 500 BC
The Zapotec is still poorly understood. At first the underlying language itself presents a problem. The first European record of the Zapotec language dates from the 16th century and the ancient form of Zapotec from a thousand years earlier is not documented at all. However, what is known about the Zapotec derive, mostly from comparing with other Mesoamerican writing systems. Like other Mesoamerican scripts, Zapotec used the bar-and-dot notation to represent numbers. In terms of time-keeping the Zapotecs employed the 365 day solar calendar and called it yza and the 260 day sacred calendar and called it piye. These solar and sacred calendars created a Mesoamerican time cycle of 52 years called the calendar round. This is the largest unit of time for Mesoamerican cultures, and therefore historical events are often recorded in terms of dates within a Calendar Round.

Popocatepetl- 300 BC
Popocatepetl is a snow capped stratovolcano that stands 13,776 ft (4200 m) above the surrounding basin. The name Popocatepetl, meaning "Smoking Mountain", was given to the volcano by the Aztecs, and suggests that the volcano has long been active. Popo, as it is often called, is built on an older volcano which adds 12,464 ft (3800 m) to Popocatepetl's elevation. The new cone consists of many steep lava flows that alternate with thick pyroclastic layers. The crater of Popo is oval shaped, very deep and has near vertical walls. The cone is covered with yellow sulphur spots and volcanic gases escape from...
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