Overview of Maya culture as portrayed by photos from 28 ancient city-states

Maya civilization developed and flourished in Central America beginning in the Pre-Classic era (300 BC - 250 AD) and continuing on into the Late Classic (600 AD - 900 AD). The Post Classic is dated from 900 AD up until about 1500 AD when the Spanish conquistadores & Franciscan friars arrived around 1564.

The Maya were the most advanced civilization in the Americas. They were among only six ancient cultures to develop writing. They used a Base-20 counting system (Maya children count on both fingers and toes) and they developed the mathematical concept of zero. They created a complex calendar system called the Long Count to record ceremonial and religious events with great accuracy. They were accomplished astronomers and could accurately predict eclipses and the cycles of Venus, which were important to their religious rituals.

The Maya developed populous cities with an impressive ceremonial architectures. In addition, they were skilled weavers and makers of elaborately painted and incised pots. Yet they were still a stone-age civilization in the sense that they never developed iron tools.

Please click on the image for an interactive map linking to photos of the twenty-eight ancient city-states covered by this website. Please enjoy your visit!