The Maya-Classic Maya Lowland Civilization by yaofenji


									The Classic Maya
 Settlement Patterns and
      Population Size

   Slow, gradual change.
    • Did not develop overnight.
    • Due to several factors
   Resource concentration
    • population growth
    • beginnings of cultural variability
    • development of ideologies
   Migration of ideas from other
     Socio-Political Organization
   Small Kingdoms, No centralized
   Succession of regional centers
   Not really dominant over neighbors
    • Although some exceptions at different
          Pacific Coastal Plain

   Izapa, Mexico
    • elaborate stone carvings
   Abaj Takalik, Guatemala
    • ”pot-belly” boulders that have been
      incised with fat human figures (carved
      after 500 B.C.)
   Monte Alto
    • collosal heads (contact with Olmec?),
      also pot belly boulders.
                                          • Izapa Stela 5, the largest
                                            and most complex stela at
                                            the site, depicts an
                                            enormous World Tree that
                                            bisects the composition.
                                          • The tree stretches from a
                                            watery basal layer at the
                                            bottom to a celestial band
                                            at the top. A series of
                                            mythic and quasi-historical
                                            scenes appear on either
                                            side of the tree, while the
                                            bodies of two zoomorphic
                                            beasts frame the scene on
                                            either side.
          Southeast Periphery

   Copan, Honduras
    • evidence of interaction with western
      areas of MesoAm during the PreClassic
      (700-500 B.C.).
         Court of the Stelae
        Copan Ballcourt
           Hieroglyphic Staircase
   The hieroglyphic staircase
    is the longest known
    Mayan hieroglyphic
    inscription, tracing the
    lineage of Copan's kings
    back to the founder, Yax
    Kuk Mo.
   Its inscriptions are more
    worn-down than those on
    most of the stelae and, in
    order to prevent further
    erosion, it is now protected
    by an enormous tarp.

                          Stela M
   Stela M and its associated
    altar stand at the foot of
    the staircase,
    it is a portrait of the
    fifteenth ruler of Copan,
    "Smoke Shell" who
    also finished and dedicated
    the hieroglphic staircase.
   Stela M was dedicated in
    756 A.D. (,
    three years after the
    dedication of the staircase.

       Southeastern Highlands
   Chalcuapa
    • one of the important highland
      centers,important for trade in pottery.
   Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala
    • expansive religious architecture from
      400 B.C. to A.D. 100.
      Southern Maya Lowlands
   Tikal, Guatemala
    • Tikal investigations in the 1950s,
      national park around the site.
    • 300 B.C. to 300 A.D. developed into a
      huge city.
   Uaxactun, Guatemala
    • basic chronological sequence of pottery
      for area.
    Yucatan Peninsula and Belize
   Cerros
    • exploited marine resources, adopted
      kingship by 50B.C.

                                  Cerros Main Temple
             Cerros, Belize

Structure 5C-2nd was built on the edge of the water and decorated
with monumental masks that flank the elongated central staircase.

   Patterns
    • Previously thought that Maya practiced
      cultivation similar to 16th c descendants
      (i.e. Slash/Burn).
    • Thus, it was believed that that was why
      no major centers developed.
    • Additional research discovered that
      increased population caused them to
      shift from small scale cultivation to
      more intensive cultivation.
    Localized intensive agriculture
   Proposed by Warwick Bray
   gardening took place in zones of
    good water sources.
    Expansive Cultivation (900 B.C.)

   Shifting cultivation-Slash/Burn
    • corn farming with swidden or slash/burn,
      family of five needs 3,000 pounds of corn per
    • lie fallow for 4-8 years, so use up a lot of land
      if population expands.
    • but, 150-200 people per square mile can be
      supported with shifting cultivation.
   Doesn’t explain how supported Classic
    Mayan population.
           Wetland cultivation
   Maya increasingly pressed by
   Swamps were being drained and
    drainage canals built., located with
    radar imagery.
   The largest cities are located on the
    edges of these swamps.
Settlement Patterns and Population
   No direct evidence for census
    material, so use indirect means.
    • Counting house mounds
    • Volumetric assessments of the masses
      of formal architecture in the civic
            House Structures

   Small platforms of clay, earth and
    • Thatched roofs, wattle and daub.
    • Lowlands areas seem that peak
      population was Late Classic (A.D. 1000)
   Volumetric Assessments
    • The larger and more numerous the
      more people needed to build them.
    • Peaks during Late Classic as well.
         Oneonta in Belize!!!

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