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Palenque
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Palenque

Located in the foothills of the Chiapas altiplano of modern Mexico, Palenque was an important Maya city which flourished between c. 600 and 750 CE. The name Palenque derives from the Spanish, meaning 'fortified place', but the original...
Maya Government
Definition by Maria C. Gomez

Maya Government

Ancient Maya government was formed on the basis that rulers were thought to have been god-like, which to some might suggest one unified state. However, the consensus amongst anthropologists supports that each major Maya city remained its...
Xibalba
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Xibalba

Xibalba (Shee-bal-ba) was the name the K'iche Maya gave to the underworld. For the Yucatec Maya the underworld was known as Metnal. The name Xibalba translates as 'Place of Fright', which indicates the terror the place had in...
Maya Religion
Definition by Maria C. Gomez

Maya Religion

Maya religious beliefs are formed on the notion that virtually everything in the world contains k’uh, or sacredness. K’uh and k’uhul, similar terms which are used to explain the spirituality of all inanimate and animate...
Popol Vuh
Definition by Joshua J. Mark

Popol Vuh

The Popol Vuh is the story of creation according to the Quiche Maya of the region known today as Guatemala. Translated as `The Council Book', The Book of the People' or, literally, `The Book of the Mat', the work has been referred...
Early Explorers of the Maya Civilization: From Aguilar to Waldek
Article by Joshua J. Mark

Early Explorers of the Maya Civilization: From Aguilar to Waldek

Although John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood are consistently credited with the `discovery' of the Maya Civilization, there were many who preceded them who sparked their interest in making their famous travels through Mesoamerica...
Early Explorers of the Maya Civilization: John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood
Article by Joshua J. Mark

Early Explorers of the Maya Civilization: John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood

The names of John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood are forever linked to the Maya and Mayan studies as the two great explorers who documented the ruins from Copan in the south to Chichen Itza in the north. The stories told by Stephens...
The Mayan Pantheon: The Many Gods of the Maya
Article by Joshua J. Mark

The Mayan Pantheon: The Many Gods of the Maya

The pantheon of the Maya is a vast collection of deities who were worshipped throughout the region which, today, comprises Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas in Mexico and southward through Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador...
The Ball Game of Mesoamerica
Article by Mark Cartwright

The Ball Game of Mesoamerica

The sport known simply as the Ball Game was popular across Mesoamerica and played by all the major civilizations from the Olmecs to the Aztecs. The impressive stone courts became a staple feature of a city’s sacred complex and there...
Maya Food & Agriculture
Article by Mark Cartwright

Maya Food & Agriculture

For the Maya, reliable food production was so important to their well-being that they closely linked the agricultural cycle to astronomy and religion. Important rituals and ceremonies were held in honour of specialised workers...