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Unformatted text preview: The Classic Maya
Settlement Patterns and Population Size Development
Development Slow, gradual change. • Did not develop overnight.
• Due to several factors Resource concentration
• population growth
beginnings of cultural variability
development of ideologies Migration of ideas from other cultures Socio-Political Organization
Socio-Political Small Kingdoms, No centralized state.
Succession of regional centers
Not really dominant over neighbors • Although some exceptions at different times. Regions
Regions Pacific Coastal Plain
Pacific Izapa, Mexico • elaborate stone carvings Abaj Takalik, Guatemala • ”potbelly” boulders that have been incised with fat human figures (carved after 500 B.C.) Monte Alto • collosal heads (contact with Olmec?), also pot belly boulders. Izapa
• Izapa Stela 5, the largest and most complex stela at the site, depicts an enormous World Tree that bisects the composition. • The tree stretches from a watery basal layer at the bottom to a celestial band at the top. A series of mythic and quasihistorical scenes appear on either side of the tree, while the bodies of two zoomorphic beasts frame the scene on either side. http://www.utexas.edu/cofa/a_ah/dir/precol/izapa.htm Southeast Periphery
Southeast Copan, Honduras • evidence of interaction with western areas of MesoAm during the PreClassic (700500 B.C.). Copan
Copan http://www.misericordia.edu/users/davies/maya/copan.htm Court of the Stelae
Court http://www.misericordia.edu/users/davies/maya/gcourt.htm Copan Ballcourt
Copan http://www.misericordia.edu/users/davies/maya/bcourt.htm Hieroglyphic Staircase
Hieroglyphic The hieroglyphic staircase is the longest known Mayan hieroglyphic inscription, tracing the lineage of Copan's kings back to the founder, Yax Kuk Mo. Its inscriptions are more worn
down than those on most of the stelae and, in order to prevent further erosion, it is now protected by an enormous tarp. http://www.misericordia.edu/users/davies/maya/hcourt.htm Stela M
Stela Stela M and its associated altar stand at the foot of the staircase,
it is a portrait of the fifteenth ruler of Copan, "Smoke Shell" who
also finished and dedicated the hieroglphic staircase.
Stela M was dedicated in 756 A.D. (18.104.22.168.0), three years after the dedication of the staircase. http://www.misericordia.edu/users/davies/maya/hcourt.htm Southeastern Highlands
Southeastern Chalcuapa • one of the important highland centers,important for trade in pottery. Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala • expansive religious architecture from 400 B.C. to A.D. 100. Southern Maya Lowlands
Southern Tikal, Guatemala • Tikal investigations in the 1950s, national park around the site.
• 300 B.C. to 300 A.D. developed into a huge city. Uaxactun, Guatemala • basic chronological sequence of pottery for area. Tikal
Tikal http://www.destination360.com/tikal/guide.htm Yucatan Peninsula and Belize
Yucatan Cerros • exploited marine resources, adopted kingship by 50B.C. Cerros Main Temple http://www.northernbelize.com/pg2/imagepages/pg2_03.html Cerros, Belize
Cerros, Structure 5C2nd was built on the edge of the water and decorated with monumental masks that flank the elongated central staircase. http://www.northernbelize.com/pg2/imagepages/pg2_02.html Agriculture
Agriculture Patterns • Previously thought that Maya practiced cultivation similar to 16th c descendants (i.e. Slash/Burn).
• Thus, it was believed that that was why no major centers developed.
• Additional research discovered that increased population caused them to shift from small scale cultivation to more intensive cultivation. Localized intensive agriculture
Localized Proposed by Warwick Bray
gardening took place in zones of good water sources. Expansive Cultivation (900 B.C.)
Expansive Shifting cultivationSlash/Burn • corn farming with swidden or slash/burn, family of five needs 3,000 pounds of corn per year.
• lie fallow for 48 years, so use up a lot of land if population expands.
• but, 150200 people per square mile can be supported with shifting cultivation. Doesn’t explain how supported Classic Mayan population. Wetland cultivation
(Extensive-Intensive) Maya increasingly pressed by population.
Swamps were being drained and drainage canals built., located with radar imagery.
The largest cities are located on the edges of these swamps. Settlement Patterns and Population
Sizes No direct evidence for census material, so use indirect means.
• Counting house mounds
• Volumetric assessments of the masses of formal architecture in the civic centers. House Structures
House Small platforms of clay, earth and stone. • Thatched roofs, wattle and daub.
• Lowlands areas seem that peak population was Late Classic (A.D. 1000) Volumetric Assessments • The larger and more numerous the more people needed to build them.
• Peaks during Late Classic as well. ...
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- Fall '08