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Presentation on theme: "THE MAYA CIVILIZATION."— Presentation transcript:


2 Geography: A Growing Civilization
The Maya lived in the Yucatan Peninsula Spread out over 125,000 square miles The Highlands / lowlands With mountains and valleys

3 Geography: A Growing Civilization
Archaeologists think the Maya began working the land as early as 1800 B.C. They built small farming villages By 200 A.D., some of these villages grew into cities. Warriors fought over land and power No ruler united the entire Mayan kingdom

4 Cities / Temples Mayan cities were built around religious centers. Some cities had great palaces. The Maya built flat-topped pyramids made of limestone. At the top of these pyramids were temples. That was where the Mayan priest-kings held religious rituals. Tikal, Guatemala

5 An Economy Based on Agriculture
As Mayan cities grew, farmers needed to produce more food. They found ways to farm places they had not farmed before. They farmed the sides of hills (carved into flat terraces) They build raised fields in the wet lowlands They burned trees and plants in forests to clear the land for farming They moved good soil to areas that had poor soil They dug water systems (irrigation) to bring water to dry areas

6 Agriculture: Terraces

7 Agriculture By using these techniques, they grew corn, beans and squash. They traded their extra food between the highland and lowland people and with people in Central America and Mexico In return, they received goods that they couldn’t produce themselves, such as jade, feathers and cacao beans. Cacao beans held great value (used as money) and was restricted to only the most important Mayan Obsidian – A glass like volcanic rock was also traded/used as money

8 Products Traded Cocoa Feathers Obsidian

9 The Rulers Polytheism-The Maya worshipped many gods. The also worshipped their rulers. They thought their rulers could influence the gods. One Mayan ruler was named Pascal. He ruled the Maya for 68 years. Like other Maya rulers he was a priest as well as a warrior. Priest-kings like Pascal killed animals and sometimes people as offerings to the gods. The City of Palenque build a temple that was used to record his achievements

10 The Maya wanted to keep the gods happy and prevent disaster
They believe that the gods needed blood Priest-kings like Pascal killed animals and sometimes people as offerings to the gods.

11 Sacrifices for the Gods

12 Mayan Achievements: Mayan H.A.M.
H= hieroglyphs (a writing system) Each picture stood for an object and/or a sound. Some hieroglyphs stood for whole ideas, such as life or happiness. Hieroglyphs were carved on the stone columns and record books called a codex

13 H= Hieroglyphics

14 A= Astronomy A= Astronomy- They knew exact moon phases
Able to predict sun and moon eclypses They created very precise 365 day calendars for harvesting. They also had a 120 day calendar for religious events.

15 M= Mathematics Mathematics- A number system. Were the first to use the symbol of zero (binary math) The number system was based on units of 20.


17 Recreation The Mayan Ball Game
Players tried to hit a solid rubber ball through a stone ring by using their leather-padded elbows, wrists, and hips. People from all levels of Mayan society watched and placed bets on the outcome of the game Slaves, land and homes could be won and lost during a game The losing team were sacrificed and the captain of the defeated team was beheaded.


19 The End of the Maya The collapse of the Classic Mayan civilization is one of the great mysteries. The Mayan culture thrived for about 600 years. By 900 C.E., the Maya had abandoned their cities to the jungle Possible causes: Populations of the cities grew to fast for the farming system Long periods of drought (dry weather) causing crop failure Warfare – wars were very bloody, hand-to-hand fighting with clubs and spears Invaders from central Mexico helped to destroy the city-states


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