By Charles George
Introduces the heritage and tradition of the traditional Maya, describing its preclassical and classical sessions, social periods, faith, agriculture, pyramids, astronomy, paintings, and writings.
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Extra resources for Maya Civilization (World History)
Instead of the solid roof combs of Tikal, each Palenque structure is topped with a latticed roof comb, ornately carved with scenes from Maya mythology. Known Maya pyramids number in the thousands. They make up the majority of structures in the central areas of Maya cities. Whereas some served as tombs, others were foundations for temples, astronomical observatories, or other government buildings. Thanks to hieroglyphic carvings on the structures, archaeologists usually are able to determine when each was built and by whom.
At the end of each Tun was a separate period of 5 days to finish the 365-day year. This 5-day period, called u wayeb u haab, “sleepers of the year,” or ma k’aba k’in, “the nameless days,” was considered unlucky. Each Tun in the Haab calendar begins with the Maya month Pop and ends with Kumk’u, which is then followed by the Wayeb, the empty, unlucky days. The days of Haab began with 1 Pop, 2 Pop, 3 Pop, and so forth, and they ended with 3 Wayeb, 4 Wayeb, and 5 Wayeb. Longer time periods in the Haab had different terms.
If the limestone was particularly soft, as it was near Palenque, craftsmen used a special twin-bladed stone knife to complete the carving. Urban Architectural Developments Pyramids like those at Tikal and Palenque, along with hundreds of others in cities such as Piedras Negras, Quiriguá, and Copán, reflect two advancements in architecture and building techniques similar in some ways to those of the Roman Empire—the arch and cement. The Maya developed the use of arches in their construction, but theirs were not true arches, like those built by the Romans.