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The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as its art, architecture, and mathematical andastronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period At its peak, it was one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world.The Maya civilization shares manyfeatures with other Mesoamerican civilizations due to the high degree of interaction and cultural diffusion that characterized the region. Advances such as writing, epigraphy, and the calendar didnot originate with the Maya; however, their civilization fully developed them.Maya influence can be detected from Honduras, Guatemala, Northern El Salvador and to as far as central Mexico.
The cultureof the Mayas, however, has little changed from the classic period to the modern period, for Maya culture was largely tribal and rural all throughout the Classic period. What distinguishes Classic frompost-Classic Maya culture was the importance of urban centers and their structures in the religious life of the Mayas and the extent of literate culture. They derived many cultural forms from thenorth, but also devised many cultural innovations that profoundly influenced all subsequent cultures throughout Mesoamerica. Much of Maya culture, particularly the religious reckoning of time, is still avital aspect of Native American life in Guatemala and Honduras.
Among their other accomplishments, the ancient Mayas invented a calendar of remarkable accuracy and complexity. At right is theancient Mayan Pyramid Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico. The Pyramid of Kukulkan at Chichén Itzá, constructed circa 1050 was built during the late Mayan period,The pyramid was used as a calendar: fourstairways, each with 91 steps and a platform at the top, making a total of 365, equivalent to the number of days in a calendar year.The Maya calendar was adopted by the other Mesoamerican nations, such as...
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