The Topic:

Easier - Ancient Maya had a highly structured civilization that thrived in southern Mexico and Central America around year 1000. In the 1500s, the Maya were discovered, conquered, and almost totally destroyed by invading Spanish. Today's Maya are descendants of that American Indian tribe.
Harder - Maya people once dominated the region that is now eastern and southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and western Honduras. Prior to the sixteenth century arrival of Europeans, they developed one of the most advanced Native American civilizations in the western hemisphere. Without metal tools, the Maya constructed massive stone pyramids and temples. They created stone sculptures and painted elaborate murals. They also recorded events in hieroglyphs, a form of pictorial writing. Their most complex achievements were in astronomy and mathematics. Maya used a numbering system and could complete abstract and complicated calculations. They developed a pair of interlocking calendars. One calendar was based on the position of the sun and contained 365 days. The other was a sacred 260-day almanac. Designation of any given day involved combining the name for the sun calendar day and the sacred almanac day.
The Maya culture's greatest period was from about year 300 to 900 AD. After that zenith, the Maya mysteriously declined in Guatemala's southern lowlands, but later their culture revived in the Yucatán Peninsula. There the Maya continued to dominate until the Spanish conquest. Today's Maya descendants still comprise a large segment of that region's population, living their lives as peasant farmers. They speak a mixture of Mayan and Spanish languages. One tribal group, the Lacandón people of Mexico, still makes pilgrimages to worship the ancient gods among the ruins of the pyramids and temples.
Jaguar Sun by J. Criscenzo
This site provides an introduction to the ancient and present day Maya culture.
Related Websites:
2) Maya Civilization
3) Maya Civilization Then and Now from Mexico Connect
4) Mayan Civilization
5) Mayans
6) Mayans
7) Mundo Maya
8) Rabbit in the Moon: Mayan Glyphs and Architecture
Maya Civilization - Past & Present by P.Giese
This comprehensive links-site connects to resources on Mayans throughout history including their language, culture, and contributions to mathematics and astronomy.
Related Section:
2) Maya Links
Related Links-sites:
3) Maya
4) Mayans from NativeWeb
Mayan Kids
See photos, use the glossary, and learn interesting facts about these ancient people.
Mystery of the Maya from the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation
Learn about Mayan civilization, view a timeline and glossary of terms, or check out slide show pictures.
Not-To-Be-Missed Section:
2) Maya Civilization
Other Online Museum Exhibits:
3) Images of the Maya from Florida Museum of Natural History
4) Maya: The Lost Kingdom of the Rainforest from Didrichsen Art Museum
5) Maya: Portraits of a People from McClung Museum
After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of the following activities:
Play A Mayan Game. Follow the procedures found at Play Bul, A Mayan Game of Chance from Half Moon.
Solve The Mystery Of Mayan Glyphs. Join National Geographic's Amazing Travel Bureau and solve the Secret of the Maya Glyphs. You can also write your name in Mayan glyphs by following the procedures found at How to Write Your Name In Mayan Glyphs.
Read A Mayan Folktale. You will find some stories that were translated by F. Peñalosa at (1) Mayan Folktales. Others can be found at (2) Maya Stories and (3) The Mayas.
Complete A Maya WebQuest. Adapt or follow the procedures found at one of the following webQuest sites.
1) Ancient Maya WebQuest
2) International Human Rights (Grades 10-12, Activity on today's Maya)
3) On the Day You Were Born (Grades 9-10) by M. Abbatinozzi, M. Lopes, M. Ricci, & E. Sapochetti
4) Maya Adventure from Science Museum of Minnesota
5) Maya and Inca WebQuest
6) Vanishing Act . . . What Happened to the Ancient Maya? (Grade 6) by A. Kelly
Compare and Contrast Maya To Aztec Or Inca Civilization. You can learn more about the other ancient Mesoamerican Civilizations at Aztecs and Incas, both from eduScapes 42eXplore. Pick One to research and compare with Maya Civilization. Identify the characteristics of both cultures; greatest achievements, time periods and locations, decline and causes, etc. How were they alike and how did they differ? Create a multimedia presentation that summarizes your findings.
Construct A Model of Mayan Architecture. Construct a model of a Maya home, a temple, or pyramid. Use the websites and other library media resources to make your model as authentic as possible.
Plan A Trip To Your Favorite Maya Location. Select a favorite Maya location. This could be a modern Maya area or an ancient ruin. In addition to the websites provided, you may find useful information at (1) Lonely Planet and (2) MapQuest. For travel arrangements, you may want to use (3) Expedia, (4) Travelocity, and/or (5) Orbitz. Detail all aspects of your simulated travel including travel dates and itinerary, activities, methods of transportation, and expected costs for the trip. Be as thorough as possible and include tables, illustrations, and photos where appropriate.
Websites By Kids For Kids
Ancient Maya from The William Penn Charter School Sixth Grade
Learn about the ancient Maya civilization.
Related Student Projects:
2) Maya from Kent School District
From Our World to Theirs: The Ancient Maya (2001 ThinkQuest Junior project)
Students became "archaeologists" and used a variety of resources to locate facts and compile information about the Ancient Maya. They each chose a sub topic area to focus on: archaeological sites, hieroglyphs, mathematics and calendar astronomy, or the Maya today as their final project.
Related Projects:
2) Mayan Culture (1999 ThinkQuest Junior project)
3) Maya (2001 ThinkQuest Junior project)
4) Mayans: The Masters of Mystery (2000 ThinkQuest Junior project)
5) Mayan World (2001 ThinkQuest Junior project)
La Cultura Maya (2000 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
This site provides information about the ancient Maya culture in America. The Maya developed advanced concepts in astronomy, math, and architecture.
Related Projects:
2) Civilization of the Mayans (1997 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
3) Maya Explorer: A Study of the Mayas (2000 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
Primitive Math? We Don't Think So (2001 ThinkQuest Junior project)
This site teaches about one part of the Mayan civilization . . . their math.
More Websites
Maya from Annenberg/CPB's Collaspe: Why Civilizations Fall
Looking at the impressive remains of ancient Maya civilization, it's hard to imagine how such a society could collapse.
Not-To-Be-Missed Sections:
2) Looking for Clues at Copán
3) Understanding Collapse
Related Websites:
4) Could a Changed Climate be Responsible for the Fall of the Mighty Maya? from The Why
Files, University of Wisconsin
5) Too Warm For The Maya by K. Wong
Maya Astronomy Page
Learn about Mayan mathematics as well as their calendar, writing system, and understanding of astronomy.
Maya Codices from GB Online
View ancient writing of the Mayans. These books were written on bark paper or animal skin, using unique writing systems that evolved before the conquest.
Related Webpages:
2) Hieroglyphs and History of Copán (Advanced level) by D. Stuart
3) Maya from Ancient Scripts
4) Mayan Hieroglyphic Writing
5) Maya Writing Systems
Maya Government from Mesoamerican Governments
This site summarizes a Maya expert's, R.J. Sharer, view of Maya government.
Related Website:
2) Maya Government
Mayan Architecture by C. Moore
Long ago the pre-Columbian Mayans built highly complex cities and mammoth structures without the invention of the wheel or domesticated animals. Their limited architectural and engineering knowledge enabled them to strengthen their civilization by creating wondrous religious centers.
Related Websites:
2) Maya Architecture by M. Lominy
3) Mayan Architecture
(Scroll down the index to click on the site - but its worth the Java hassle)
Mayan Calendar
Among their other accomplishments, the ancient Mayas invented a calendar of remarkable accuracy and complexity.
Related Websites:
2) Calendar Notes
3) Maya Calendar from Yucatan's Maya World Studies Center
4) Maya Calendar
5) Maya Calendar
6) Maya Calendar
7) Mayan Calendar
8) Mayan Calendar by K.M. Strom
9) Mayan Calendar Tools
Mayan Epigraphic Database Project (Advanced level material)
This project consists of a relational database of glyphs ("gnumbers"), images, phonetic values ("pvalues"), and semantic values ("svalues") according to the consensus among various American Mayanists (MacLeod and Reents-Budet 1994). Also present is the beginning of an archive of digitally transcribed Mayan texts.
Mayan Languages from Yamada Language Center from University of Oregon
Here you find links to resources on Mayan language and writing.
Mayan Math by K.M. Strom
The Mayans devised a counting system that was able to represent very large numbers by using only 3 symbols; a dot, a bar, and a symbol for zero, or completion, usually a shell.
Related Websites:
2) Mayan Arithmetic by S. Fought from MathForum
3) Maya Mathematical System from Maya World Studies Center
4) Maya Mathematics
5) Maya Numerals by Michielb
Mayan Stelae Replicas and Rubbings by J. Patten
Stelae are monumental stones carved by the Mayan Indians in the jungles of Central America between 300 B.C. and 900 A.D. Because these priceless treasures are being looted by art robbers and are crumbling from hundreds of years of jungle weather, Joan Patten, the American artist and sculptor, set out to preserve these outstanding stelae.
Other Websites on Mayan Art:
2) Ancient Olmec and Maya Art and Sculpture from The Museo Regional de Antropologia Carlos Pellicer
3) Imaging Maya Art by M. Miller from Archaeology
4) Maya Art I
5) Maya Art II - On Location at the Cities
6) Maya Art III - Bonampak and Jaina
7) Maya Ceramics from GB Online
8) Rubbings of Maya Sculpture by M.G. Robertson
Mayas by R. Hooker from World Civilizations
Here you find a description of Mayan history, their region, economy, religion, and society.
Mesoamerican Ballgame
Learn about the ancient Mesoamerican ballgames of the Maya.
Related Websites:
2) Ball Game
3) Sacred Sports in 8th Century pre-Hispanic Mexico
Mythology of the Mayas
Here you learn about the beliefs of the Mayas.
Related Website:
2) Maya Religion
3) Mayan Religious Practices
4) Mayan Gods
5) Mayan Gods and Mythology in Brief
Periods in Maya Civilization
This timeline shows the time periods when different invading cultures held sway in in the Northern region, in the Yucatán region where Uxmal and Chichén Itzá are found.
Mayan Archeology & Ruins
Journey Through Tikal
This interactive site explores the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal, a city that flourished over 2,000 years ago in Central America.
Related Website:
2) Tikal from GB Online
Lost King of the Maya from PBS NOVA Online
This site follows the work of archeologists who are using new excavations and hieroglyphic translations to interpret the early history of Copán, a Classic Maya site in northern Honduras.
Made Up of Time: The Mayan Ruins of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize & Honduras by M. Leger from GORP
The Mayan ruins of central America are from cities that fell into decline long before Columbus. But many of the traditions reflected in the architecture and art from these sites live on in the modern Mayan world.
Related Site:
2) Maya Maps
Mayan City of Chichén Itzá by D.W. Koeller at North Park University
Read an article about the intact ruins of Chichen Itza and the Mayan people.
Related Websites:
2) Chichén Itzá (Photos)
3) Chichén Itzá
4) Chichén Itzá from Minnesota State University - Mankato
5) Chichén Itzá (Photos) from Villanova University
6) Chichén Itzá, Yucatan, Mexico
7) Explore Chichén Itzá and Uxmal Ruins
8) Tour Of Chichén Itzá
Maya Realm by P.D. Harrison
Mayan expert gives an account of the history and archeology of the ancient Maya ruins in Tikal.
Maya Ruins
This site provides a photographic tour of selected sites in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico.
Related Websites:
2) Cities of the Maya by L. Dumois
3) Cities of the Ancient Maya
4) Maya in Multimedia
5) Mayan Ruins by K. Goehring
Mayan Ruins of Tulum by S. Sakurai
Tulum means fence, trench or wall, and is the name given to the site in recent times because of the wall surrounding it, although its ancient name was possibly Zama, a corruption of Zamal (morning), associated with the dawn.
Mayan Traveler
This commercial site provides information on travel to the ancient ruins, natural history and modern wonders of the world of the enigmatic Maya.
Palenque from the Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, M.G. Robertson and Mesoweb
This is the official homepage of a current archaeological dig at this classic Maya site.
Related Website:
2) Palenque
Quiriguá: A Mayan Legacy in Stone by R.R. Johnson
In a silent clearing among the trees, a thirty-five foot sandstone monolith rises from the still grasses of the Motagua basin. The hardness of the stone and the moderation of the elements have preserved its surface much as it was carved by the hand of man over 1,200 years ago.
Uxmal is one of the most well known of the Maya cities, and rated by many archaeologists as the finest.
Related Website:
Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico
Contemporary Mayan Life
Arte Maya Tz'utuhil
Here you find paintings and biographical information from contemporary Mayan artists.
Chiapas: The People, The Land, The Struggle by S. Sady
A photographer for the Associated Press in Mexico provides an inside look at the people, politics, land and culture of Chiapas.
Related Websites:
2) Chiapas News
3) Chiapas Pt. 1 - Pro-Zapatista Graffiti and More! from Kavaitha's Dispatch
4) Tragedy in Chiapas, Part 2 - Civil War from Mexico Trek
5) Understanding Chiapas by P. Rosset with S. Cunningham
6) Understanding The Chiapas Revolt In Mexico by P. Rosset
Hach Winik
Learn about the Lacandon Maya communities; indigenous peoples of La Selva Lacandona in Chiapas, Mexico.
Heart of Sky: The Resurgence of Mayan Spirituality by B. Greider from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Mayan Spirituality is complex, multivocal, and dynamic. The living traditions and new movements are expanding and reinterpreting in the context of highly charged sociocultural developments in Guatemala.
Rituals of the Modern Maya by A.M.H. Schuster from Archaeology
This article maintains that a strong undercurrent of pre-Columbian belief pervades much of today's religious practice.
Schools for Chiapas
Learn about the alternative education system that is rapidly emerging in the misty mountains and steamy jungles of the Mexican southeast. Indian children in hundreds of Maya communities throughout the state of Chiapas are attending new volunteer run “Zapatista” schools. These centers promote indigenous language and tradition while striving for academic excellence and cultural survival.
Textile Art of Chipas Maya from Science Museum of Minnesota
In the state of Chiapas in southwestern Mexico, Maya-speaking women weave intricate designs into their textiles by adding colored yarn into the warp and weft of their backstrap looms.
Websites For Teachers
Achievements and Challenges of Guatemala
This unit focuses on some of those aspects of Guatemalan life and history (Maya) that are of great significance.
Be That As It Maya: Investigating Life in Mayan Cities (Grades 6-12) from New York Times
In this lesson, students create brochures and postcards that might have been created by and for travelers to ancient Mayan cities.
Cities of the Maya from Glencoe McGraw-Hill
Students compare the cities of the Maya with those of one other early civilization by collecting information on the two civilizations.
Aztec, Inca, Maya (Grade 5) by L. Eberle & S. Milton from Core Knowledge
This 15-lesson unit plan is designed to lead learners to understand the complex nature of cultures, how belief systems affect a society's actions, how thriving societies maximize their resources, and to develop an awareness of place.
Related Lesson from Core Knowledge:
2) Maya, Inca, and Aztec (Grade 5) by L. Berman
Classical Maya News Report (Grades 9-12) from Discovery School
Students will understand the relationships between Maya city-states during the classical period.
Maya by L.H. Killam
The site houses three lessons with a common focus on the Maya culture. In addition, a few of the resource links are still active.
Mayan Culture (Grades 5-7) from Schools of California Online Resources for Educators (SCORE)
This teacher cyberguide is designed to extend the students' knowledge of the Mayan culture, especially their food, recreation, number system and language.
Mysterious Maya
Why did the lowland Mayans (of Guatemala, western Honduras, and southern Mexico) seemingly disappear in the ninth century after 1000 years of dominance in the region?
war & conflict
human sacrifice
ball court
rain forest
number system
Latino - Hispanic
class society
ritual warfare
stone city
Central America
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 2/03.