Mayan Civilization (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: These Mesoamericans contributed profound achievements in art, mathematics, astronomy, and architecture
Mayan history is divided into three periods: Preclassic (2000 b.c.e.-200 c.e.), Classic (200-900 c.e.), and Postclassic (900 c.e. to the Spanish conquest). The Maya lived in an area that included the present-day Mexican states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo, in addition to the countries of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Scholars who study the Maya have divided the entire region into three subregions: the southern subregion of Guatemala highlands and the Pacific coast; the central subregion of northern Guatemala, its adjacent lowlands, and the Petén region; and the northern subregion of the Yucatan peninsula. The highland areas of southern Guatemala and Chiapas flourished during the late Preclassic period; lowland areas in the Petén region reached their height during the Classic period; and the area in the Yucatan Peninsula prospered in the late Classic and Postclassic periods.
The end of the Preclassic period and the beginning of the Classic period, when the Maya flourished, had formerly been defined by the appearance of vaulted stone architecture, monumental inscriptions, and polychrome pottery. However, subsequent finds have revealed that each of these traits appeared at different times during the Terminal Preclassic. Consequently the “official” end of the...
(The entire section is 1557 words.)
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