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Parents and Teachers

Teaching About:
The Maya

A thousand years before the Spanish founded their New World empire in the A.D. 1400s, the Maya people flourished in the area that is now southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and El Salvador all part of what archeologists call Mesoamerica. The early Maya began settling along the Pacific coast around 1800 B.C. The Maya suffered a decline in population and building in the A.D. 800s, but did not seriously disappear until approximately 1524 when they lost much of their political freedom and their land to Spanish colonists. Some Maya were never conquered and retained their independence in small villages and hamlets in the forest. There are currently about four to five million Maya living today. Studying the Maya helps us understand some general factors that are responsible for the rise and decline of civilizations. Some of these are socially important today, such as misuses or overuse of the land. Maya studies can contribute much to our understanding of the past because of their written records and the accurate dating that they provide. Also, Maya people can be given a new pride in their heritage.

Print Resources   *   Video Resources   *   Related Resources
Ordering Info   *   Web Sites

Print Resources:

Maya Rivals Cover
DIG0211     $4.95
We're off to Guatemala and Mexico to search Mayan ruins with a representative from the World Monuments Fund. Two of the Mayan sites we'll visit are on the Fund's "endangered" list. Find out just what that list is and what's being done to preserve the areas. Check out a few glyphs to see just how the ancient Mayans formed "their letters." Go on site with the tunneling project at Copan. Find out how a proposed hydroelectric dam threatens to destroy Mayan sites. Learn how ancient rivals may become modern partners and why. And, that's not all! There are puzzles, projects, and a joke to tickle your "funny bone."

FREE Online Teacher's Guide
Ancient Maya Cover
CAL9902     $4.95
Travel with us to Central America and the land of the ancient Maya! Read how these people used the environment to their advantage and developed a thriving civilization. Read about the mighty city of Tikal, a national sport played in a great ball court, and gods like Chac who could be an old man or a young boy, or even look like a giant snake flying through the sky. Learn to read a few glyphs (pictures the Mayans used in their writing system) and decipher the dates on a Maya calendar.

In this issue, too, is a special section done in cooperation with ARCHAEOLOGY Magazine. You'll meet Ian Graham working on site in Guatemala as he races to record the surviving glyphs and carvings on ancient ruins and Mary Miller, who uses high-tech videography to capture on film the details of Maya wall paintings. You will also meet Payson Sheets, who is excavating the Maya city of Ceren that was buried by volcanic ash 1,400 years ago.
Sacred Places Cover
APP0203     $4.95
Includes an article on Tulum, sacred city of the Maya.
Mexico Cover
FAC0012     $4.95
Includes an article and timeline on Mexican history, showing how the Maya fit into the development of modern Mexico.

Video Resources:

Provided courtesy of The Archaeology Channel, the following videos allow you to explore archaeology and our human cultural heritage through streaming media. Travel through time and feel the thrill of discovery while examining the wonderful diversity of the human experience!

Click on a title for more information and to view. (To optimize your viewing experience, all videos are provided in Windows Media Player and RealOne Player formats, for viewing speeds of 56k and 300k. Both players are free and are available for download at www.archaeologychannel.org.)
Archaeological Videos

Ethnographic Videos

Related Resources:

Incas of Peru Cover
CAL0003     $4.95
Travel south to Peru and meet the fascinating Inca. Join Hiram Bingham as he braves the high altitude of the Andes in search of ancient ruins. Meet the "Ice Maiden" face-to face, and learn the myths of Lake Titiaca, the sun-god's birthplace. Find out why ancestor worship and mummy processions were important. Enter the time period when Pachacuti ruled and read how he reorganized the government, firmly established a strict form of taxation, and ordered the building of a great palace in the capital city of Cuzco. You'll also learn how the Inca built one of the world's greatest road systems, but used no wheeled vehicles. These topics are just of few of those covered in this exciting issue. Don't miss it!

Lost Cities Cover
CAL9105     $4.95
Includes an article on Machu Picchu, sacred city of the Inca.
Ancient Mexico Cover
CAL9006     $4.95
Moche of Peru Cover
FAC9309     $4.95
  • Children of Ancient Mexico (APP0312) - December 2003
  • Olmecs (CAL0401) - January 2004
    Almost everyone has heard of the ancient Maya, a people who lived in south-central Mexico. But, what about their ancestors? Ever read about the Olmecs? Perhaps you've seen huge colossal heads with a caption that places them in ancient Mexico. Well, join us for a trip into a region that holds many secrets. Brave some very difficult terrain and lots of rain to reach remote areas that still hold Olmec treasures. Learn how the climate affected the lives of all who once lived in these areas. Check out their writing, and why it's so difficult to decipher. Look at some mounds and pyramids, and decide for yourself whether they were part of a city, or a religious center. Interested? Then, join us for a fun-filled trip "south of the border."
Ordering Information:

All of print materials are available through our online catalog or by calling Customer Service at 1-800-821-0115. POs may be faxed to 603-924-7380.

Videos from The Archaeology Channel are available free of charge, simply click on the title listed above to view, or visit their Web site, www.archaeologychannel.org, for more details and additional selections.

Recommended Web Sites:

  • Balancing the Cosmos: Easter Week (Mesoweb): Photos, video clips, and explanations from the film by Andrew Weeks
  • Caracol.org: Official Web site of the Caracol Archaeology Project, the largest Maya archaeological site in Belize
  • Collapse: Why Do Civilizations Fall? Explore the fall of civilizations through four examples: the ancient Maya, Mesopotamia, the Anasazi, and the medieval African empires of Mali and Songhai. Learn about important concepts in archeology such as interpreting evidence and dating artifacts. In a web-based activity, search for clues to what happened at the Maya center of Copán.
  • Hach Winik Home Page: Web site for the Lacandon Maya communities
  • Lost King of the Maya: Companion site to "Lost King of the Maya," a film following the work of archeologists who are using new excavations and hieroglyphic translations to interpret the early history of Copán, features video clips of some of Copán's greatest treasures, John Lloyd Stephens' riveting account of entering this magnificent lost city, clickable map of the Maya world, resources and a teacher's guide
  • Maya Adventure: Includes images from the Science Museum of Minnesota's anthropological collections and activities developed by its education division. Featured in the project is information from two exhibits about the Maya developed by the museum, "Cenote of Sacrifice" and "Flowers, Saints and Toads"
  • Maya Astronomy Page: Information on Mayan mathematics, calendar, and astronomy
  • Maya Cosmos: Explore more than 20 ancient Mayan ruins through an interactive map linking to over 60 panoramas
  • Mesoweb: Exploration of Mesoamerican cultures
  • Mystery of the Maya: Information on Mayan civilization and several exhibits that were on display at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 1995
  • The Yaxuná Archaeology Project: Associated with California State University, Hayward, this Web site shows high-bandwidth multimedia in the form of QuickTime Movies, QuicktimeVR, & Shockwave

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