The Mayans

Resources, articles, and posts about the culture of the Mayans


6 Reasons Why the Mayans Were an Awesome Civilization

Over the last few decades, the Mayan civilization has deeply captured our interests and imaginations. Generations of curious explorers have dived headfirst into the deep jungles of Central America and discovered buried cities, remarkable pyramids, spiritual mysteries,...
Mayans might have chosen any of these glyphs as their tattoo. Maya glyphs in stucco at the Museo de sitio in Palenque, Mexico

Mayan Art of the Tattoo

Mayans practiced many forms of body modification, including deforming a baby’s skull to create a pleasingly elongated shape, fostering crossed eyes, filing teeth, inlaying jade into a tooth, piercing and tattooing. The Mayans did this to be pleasing to the gods, for...
Hunab Ku symbol, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mayan Symbols

Mayan symbols are a rich source of material culture for the Central American civilization and are among the most important archeological finds that have helped piece together their economics, farming methods, politics, and social practices. Symbols carry the heart of...
mayans at war

Mayans at War

Environmental challenges, disputes with neighbors, and scarcity of resources led to the Mayans at war. For many years, archeologists thought the Mayans a peaceful people, capable of war, but rarely indulging in it. However, as archeologists explored more Mayan cities...
mayan calendar

The Mayan Calendar

What we call the Mayan calendar is actually a set of three interlocking calendars, the sacred calendar of 260 days called the Tzolkin, the solar calendar of 365 days known as the Haab, and a Long Count calendar of much longer time periods. When the Mayans inscribed a...
Tikal, Guatemala, rising out of the rainforest. By Peter Anderson (own work) [CC BY SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Mayan Cultural Achievements

When we think of the Mayans and their culture, what comes to mind? The first thing that would occur to a reader would be the astonishing Mayan cities in the jungles of Central America. Other readers would mention the fascinating Mayan calendar and the predicted end of...
mayan art

Overview of Mayan Art

The 700 years of the Mayan Classical saw a great flowering of Mayan art. Stone carvings became ubiquitous throughout the Mayan region. The Mayan covered buildings and pyramid stairways with depictions of rulers and hieroglyphic writings. They also created thousands of...
Drawing of Kukulkan, from Lintel 15 at Yaxchilan. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Mayan Pantheon: Gods and Goddesses

With between 166 and 250 named gods, the Mayans had a complex and changeable pantheon. They had gods to oversee every human action and aspect of life: gods for birth and death, for the ball game and gambling, for travel and traders, for pregnant women and infants, for...
Itzamna, a creator god and the god of writing, calendars and medicine. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Mayan Religion and Cosmology

Much of the Mayan religion is not clearly understood today because of its complexity and rich pantheon of deities. Scholars have been able to decipher some of the major elements of Mayan religion, but other elements may never be known. Cosmology To the Mayans, the...
Temple I on The Great Plaza and North Acropolis seen from Temple II in Tikal, Guatemala. By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen [CC BY SA, 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Features of Mayan Cities

Mayan architecture spanned over a thousand years. Many cities contain similar features such as stepped pyramids, temples, palaces and carved stone monuments, but not all of them contain every one. Each city is different, as the Mayans built to accommodate the natural...
Page 1 of 3
1 2 3