Wednesday, October 16

Ancient Mayans - Roadschool Unit

If you're lucky enough to hit the travelling history exhibit on Mysteries of the Mayan, you should definitely go!  We stumbled upon it at a science museum, and learned much more than we could have imagined from this hands-on exhibit!  (Text in post; unit at bottom.)
The Meso-American Mayan civilization is known for its script, art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems.  The Ancient Mayan lived in the Yucat√°n, around 2600 B.C., in the area that is southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize and western Honduras today.

The Maya had no central king ruling their huge empire. Instead, there were as many as 20 separate areas, similar to ancient Greece city-states. Each major city had its own ruler and noble class supported by smaller cities and the surrounding farms and villages. 
The Ancient Maya developed the science of astronomy, calendar systems and hieroglyphic writing. They were also known for creating elaborate ceremonial architecture, such as pyramids, temples, palaces and observatories. 
The Maya writing system was made up many glyphs, which were pictures that represented sounds. They chiseled the glyphs into stone and inside books that were folded like an accordion. The pages were made of fig bark, covered in white lime, and bound in jaguar skins. The Maya wrote hundreds of these books. They contained information on history, medicine, astronomy and their religion. 

The Mayas wove beautiful fabrics and designed musical instruments like horns, drums, and castanets. They also carved huge statues. Archaeologists can tell a great deal about the ancient Maya from their wonderful pottery and clay figures. The art they created honored their leaders, gods, and their daily life. 
About AD 300 to 900 the major centers of the Mayan civilization were mysteriously abandoned.  Many theories have been considered such as disease, invasion by another culture, natural disaster or collapse of their trade routes which would have destroyed their economy. No one knows for sure what happened.

Ancient Mayans Field Trip Lessons

1 comment:

  1. Those are great pictures. What a cool exhibit.


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