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Photos from Twenty-Seven Ancient Maya City States

Click on graphic to enter the Maya Ruins website

Maya civilization developed and flourished in Central America beginning in the Pre-Classic era (300 BC - 250 AD) and continued on through the Late Classic (600 AD - 900 AD) and into the Post Classic (from 900 AD until about 1500 AD) when the Spanish conquistadores & Franciscan friars arrived in 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 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 in their rituals.

The Maya developed populous cities with impressive ceremonial architectures, and participated in extensive trade networks. In addition, they were skilled weavers and makers of elaborately painted and incised pots. Although Maya textiles have largely disintegrated because of the climate, ancient textiles have been portrayed on stelae and show a clear relation with modern indigenous weaving. Pottery is a different story, as potshards are found almost everywhere and are used extensively by archaeologists for dating.

Nevertheless, the Maya were still a stone-age civilization in the sense that they never developed iron tools, or indeed, the use of the wheel or beasts of burden in transportation.

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!