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Tikal
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Tikal

Tikal, located in the north of the Petén region of Guatemala, was a major Maya city which flourished between 300 and 850 CE. The city, known to the Maya themselves as Mutul, is one of the grandest in Mesoamerica. Amongst the first...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Yaxchilan
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Yaxchilan

Yaxchilan, located on the banks of the Usumacinta River in the Yucatán peninsula of Mexico, was an important Late Classic Maya centre. The Maya dated the founding of their city to 320 CE, but Yaxchilan flourished between c. 580 and...
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...
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 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 Writing
Article by Mark Cartwright

Maya Writing

The celebrated hieroglyphic writing system of the Maya was a sophisticated combination of pictographs directly representing objects and ideograms (or glyphs) expressing more abstract concepts such as actions or ideas and even syllabic sounds...