Mayan Resources

You must have heard some people say that the world is going to end in 2012. Do you know how this prophecy came about? It is based on the calendar of the ancient Mayan civilization.
The rise and fall of Mayan civilization: A comprehensive account of the rise and fall of Mayan civilization.
Mayan civilization: Origins of the ancient Mayan civilization.
Mayan civilization and history: A detailed account of Mayan civilization and history.

The Beginning

The Mayan civilization originated around 2600 B.C., in the Yucatán peninsula in modern day Mexico. They are known for their achievements in astronomy, development of calendars, hieroglyphic s, amazing architectural wonders and agricultural developments.
The golden or classic period of Mayan civilization was from 300 B.C. to 900 B.C. It was not a single kingdom under one ruler, instead Maya were a system of structured kingdoms ruled by different rulers.
All about Mayans: A concise account of Mayan history.
Mayan kids: An interesting site with lots of information for kids.
All about Mayans: An extensive collection of links about various aspects of Mayan civilization.
Maya civilization: Lots of information from Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Maya architecture: Information about May architecture covering Basic Structure, Architectural Style, Artistic Elements, Beam Roofs and Temples

Different Aspects of Maya Civilization

Cities of the Maya

Mayan cities were constructed in the form of stepped platforms on which various structures were built such as temples and houses. They used sophisticated decorations to adorn their buildings by carvings and paintings. Some of the famous Mayan cities include: Tikal, Chichén Itzá, Caracol and El Baúl. These cities had large populations as compared to other nations of that time. For example, the population of Tikal is estimated at about 60,000 people.
The Mayas: Several links on different aspects of Maya civilization in simple language.
Cities of the Maya: An in-depth article on the various cities of the Maya.
Maya civilization- past and present: Loads of information and links.

Society of the Maya

They started as hunters and gatherers and then slowly became involved in agriculture. They lived with extended families in small huts consisting of one room, which were made with wooden poles covered with mud. They spent days outside the huts busy with the daily chores and used the huts only for sleeping. Men did outside work such as building and farming and women carried out domestic chores including cooking, cleaning, etc.
Maya society and culture: Beautiful depiction of Maya culture through pictures.
Maya Adventure: Pictorial description of the textile art of Chiapas Maya
The Maya Languages Database: This fully searchable database contains more than 40,000 entries for 31 Mayan languages.
Maya timeline: From 11,000 B.C. until Mayan woman Rigoberta Menchu wins Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.

Religion of the Maya

Not much is known about the Maya religion. They were a polytheistic people who believed in several gods. They had over 160 gods and each covered many aspects. Some sources have indicated the presence of one supreme deity, called Itzamná.
Maya cosmology and religion: A detailed account of Maya cosmology and religion.

The Mayan Calendar

The Mayan Calendar is one of the hallmarks of their civilization. Their calendar system was very complex but equally accurate; perhaps more accurate than our modern day calendars. Their months consisted of 20 days and they had two simultaneous calendar years. One year comprised of 260 days and was called ‘Sacred Round’, while the other year was called ‘vague year’ and had 365 days. The century in their calendar consisted of 52 years.
Mayan calendar: A complicated and accurate calendar using three simultaneous independent systems.
Mayan agriculture: A detailed description of Mayan agriculture.
Maya links: A nice collection of links on various aspects of Maya civilization.
Photovalet: A collection of Mayan civilization photographs.

The Decline of the Maya

Towards the end of the classic period, the Mayan civilization started to decline. The exact reasons for their decline are still up for debate but there are a few strong theories. These theories include:

  • According to some researchers, the Maya depleted their natural resources and the population grew too large to be sustained;
  • Some believe that constant wars and strife weakened the structure of the society and led to its dissipation;
  • One of the most commonly advocated theories suggests that severe environmental changes such as catastrophic drought may have caused destruction of this civilization;

Rise and fall of Maya Empire: An extensive and authoritative source of information.
Who Destroyed the Mayan Civilization?: A large number of articles on unsolved mysteries, phenomena curious facts, etc.
Maya Rise and fall: Saga of a civilization in three parts: The rise, the monumental splendour, and the collapse.
Fall of Maya civilization: A National Geographic article discussing the effect of climate on Mayan civilization.


  • They used to alter the physical appearance of their children by pressing their forehead to make it flat or deliberately crossed their eyes;
  • All days of the year had specific names and the children were named after the day they were born;
  • Blood sacrifice was an important part of Maya civilization, which included human as well as animal blood;
  • They can be considered party people because they frequently used hallucinogenic drugs. These drugs were not only a part of their religious rituals but also used as pain killers;
  • Some of their spiritual figures ‘Shamans’, were not only priests but skilled healers as well and had vast medical knowledge;
  • They used Saunas for purification from impurities.
  • Maya had multiple calendars and the calendar from which the prophecy of the end of the world in 2012 arises is called the long count calendar. Their calendar had creation cycles and the current creation cycle is going to end on December 21, 2012.
  • The Maya civilization is supposed to have declined but Mayans are still around. There are approximately six million Maya people still in various parts of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. There are about 31 groups living in Central America each having its own language, which is a dialect of the Mayan language.

Ancient Mayan civilization: Quick facts and links to other resources.
10 facts about the Mayans: 10 interesting facts about Mayan civilization.


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