10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Ancient Maya Civilisation

Mayans used makeshift stone tools to build some of the biggest pyramids in the world; the biggest of the lot is known as El Castillo.

The Maya civilisation was one of the most powerful societies of Mesoamerica. The ancient people of Maya excelled at multiple things, including astronomy, calendar systems, hieroglyphic writing, pottery, etc.

Moreover, they built several colossal structures such as pyramids, temples and manors with the help of basic yet effective tools. The people of the olden days did not have metal tools. Hence, they used makeshift stone tools such as chisels, stone scrapers, hammers, and axes to cut and carve the rocks.

Maya
Source: ZME Science

I also discovered that Mayans worshipped a god of cacao and stocked chocolate for the rulers or significant people of the society. Yes, they were the ones who originally found the value of cacao beans. The chocolates, however, were not sugary back then. The Mayans used to flavour chocolate drinks by incorporating all sorts of spices and herbs in them. They were quite popular back in the olden days.

Here are ten things you need to know about the Maya civilisation:

Maya
Mayan writing. Source: Medium

1) They introduced a writing system:

The Maya were the only civilisation in the Americas to form a writing system. Only a handful of cultures completely understood the significance of writing back in the olden days. The Mayans tried to get ahead of time by introducing hieroglyphs. Experts claim that the Maya also persuaded children to learn new methods. Hence, they were into education and wanted to develop as a community.

number zero
Source: Wikimedia Commons

2) Number ‘zero’ was introduced:

Other cultures or societies of the olden days had no idea about mathematics. However, the Mayans were the only culture in the American continent to create the number zero.

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Lost Mayan city: Source: Pinterest

3) They built cities in the jungle:

As stated above, the Mayans constructed multiple structures such as pyramids, temples and manors in a rainforest.

Chichen Itza

The pyramid of Chichen Itza. Source: Pinterest

4) They built some of the biggest pyramids:

Again, they used makeshift stone tools to build some of the biggest pyramids in the world. The biggest of the lot is known as El Castillo; the said structure has multiple layers of walls underneath.

maya
Source: Pinterest

5) Mayans studied astronomy:

They perfected the art of studying the movements of the sun, moon, stars, and planets. Moreover, they recorded every single detail in multiple codices. However, most of them were burned by the Europeans.

Mayans
Maya ball court. Source: Pinterest

6) They constructed ball courts:

The Mayans used to play with the balls back in the olden days. They constructed various ball courts for this purpose.

mayans
Source: livescience

7) They introduced a calendar system:

The Mayans had two vital calendars; one with a 365-day count called Haab, and the other with a 260-day count called Tzolkin.

Maya
Ancient latex ball. Source: Nat Geo

8) First use of latex:

The people of Maya culture combined rubber with the juice of the morning glory plant to make the balls. The modern world, however, didn’t discover how to do this until the 19th century.

mayan
Source: Wikimedia Commons

9) People of Maya are still alive:

More than half of the population of Guatemala is associated with ancient Mayans. You can easily find Maya people not only in Guatemala but also in Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.

Maya
Mayan codices. Source: Pinterest

10) Mayans wrote multiple books:

The people of Maya composed books in their hieroglyphic script on long strips of durable paper made from the inner bark of fig trees. However, archaeologists were able to discover only three of them. The rest were burned or stolen by the Europeans.

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