New PDF release: Ancient Maya

By Sue Bradford Edwards

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3 Reservoirs helped to sustain the Maya cities during the dry season, between October and May. the Maya lined the area with stone slabs. They through this canal into a reservoir in the middle of the city. To prevent the water from draining away, covered the stone with black clay they collected from nearby wetlands, forming a waterproof coating. The people then extended a wall around the reservoir so it could hold even more water. 2 Cities were often built around cenotes. indd 32 10/23/14 10:32 AM CHAPTER 3 CITY-STATES W hen archaeologists write about the Maya and their cities, they are writing about a group of people who shared a common culture.

They carved limestone, telling of the deeds of their kings. They engraved jade, noting ancestral connections for the wearer. They recorded a wide variety of astronomical events in codices, folded books made of tree bark. They also painted the Codices Catastrophe Evidence suggests codices were plentiful at the time of initial contact with Europe, but few now remain. In 1562, Spanish bishop Diego de Landa, who had the job of converting the Maya to Catholicism, burned many of these books. Other codices probably rotted in tombs.

The skulls of infants were elongated by binding them between boards to create a flattened forehead and an oblong profile. Adults reshaped their teeth, filing them into points, notching the sides, or drilling the front surface to inlay them with a round jade bead. indd 48 10/23/14 10:33 AM The ornate clothing of the Maya kings made them easily distinguishable from the lower classes of the Maya social hierarchy. Even in a crowded marketplace, no one would mistake a noble man or woman for a peasant farmer.

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Ancient Maya by Sue Bradford Edwards

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