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PostPosted: 02-09-2003 11:42    Post subject: maya people Reply with quote

i just saw a documentrey on the maya people and how they died out. they linked it to that of a major drought, can any one suggest any sites/books/videos to hunt down so i could get some more evidance on this?
*is fairly new to all this fortean stuff, still dosent know where to look for resources*
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Papá de Iñaki y Xhanté
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PostPosted: 03-09-2003 03:53    Post subject: Re: maya people Reply with quote

ka0tic penguin wrote:

i just saw a documentrey on the maya people and how they died out. they linked it to that of a major drought, can any one suggest any sites/books/videos to hunt down so i could get some more evidance on this?
*is fairly new to all this fortean stuff, still dosent know where to look for resources*

I'll look for some stuff for you, okay? Saludos to good old Oz.
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Piffle Prospector
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PostPosted: 03-09-2003 12:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thames & Hudson had a very lavish little paperback in their
New Horizons series called Lost Cities of the Maya by Claude
Baudez & Sydney Picasso. The French version dates from 1987
but the translation seems to date from 1992. Wonderful old
photographs from the first explorers and engrossing chapters
on decoding the Maya script.

Worth searching out. Plenty of second hand copies listed on
ABE Booksearch for around $5. Smile
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PostPosted: 04-09-2003 11:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's worth noting that while the Mayan civilisation underwent significant change from one form to another, they didn't 'die out' anymore than the Romans died out after the collapse of their Empire. Mayan peoples and descendants of the pyramid builders still live in Mexico today
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morning star
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PostPosted: 04-09-2003 12:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

OO... OOO... OOO... me, me, me, me *Raises hand in the air*

I think I saw the documentry last night on National Geographic or Discovery.

The long and the short of it was that the presenter (speculated?) that Mayans were such super star pyramid builders they ruined their local environment through construction and de-forestation which lead to crop failure and famine.

The mortar that makes up 1/16th of the pyramids volume is created by burning limestone. To produce enough burnt limestone to make each bucket of mortar required approximately 3 fully grown trees to be felled and burnt. The presenter suggested that even the smallest pyramid would require millions of buckets of mortar and therefore a corresponding number of trees.

As the prenter stood atop the biggest pyramid (side length of half a mile), now engulfed in forest/jungle, he suggested that when it was completed you wouldn't be able to see trees for as far as you could see in any direction. Over may years the deforestation lead to loss of nutrients etc in the soil, crop failure and finaly famine.

It was an excellent programme and the presenters speculation seemed very plausible. I wish it had gone into more detail though. Sad

I'll try and find out the name of the prog and when its on again. Smile
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PostPosted: 04-09-2003 12:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, the disaster in that program was entirely natural (I saw the same episode). It was to do with a ten-year drought, or something.
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PostPosted: 06-09-2003 05:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, the disaster in that program was entirely natural (I saw the same episode). It was to do with a ten-year drought, or something.

thats either the same, or a very simular documentry i saw. i'm in nsw, aussieland and the documentrey i saw was on SBS last Saturday night.

Cruithne i understand that the entire race didnt just disapear... what i was interested in was that fact that why there cultra/life stoped dead so to speak. a few people still practise it, but why are there only sao few now, when therre should have been so many?

Edward ooo.. never heard that version.. if you could track down the name, maybe the presenter of the program so i can do a google serch or something

James Whitehead
thank you for that, it loks like its worth a read

Saludos hello
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PostPosted: 07-09-2003 09:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heres a few links for ya.

Just to re-iterate the point made by Cruithne, the Maya never 'Died Out'. when people refer to the fall of the Maya, they are referring to the collapse of the 'Classic Period' of Mayan Civilisation. the period when monumental inscriptions using the 'Long Count' (The one that 'Ends' in 2012!! ) were erected. this period spans from ad250 to around ad900. at this time the great cities of the Peten were for the most part abandoned, and the focus of Maya civilisation shifted north to the Yucatan & South & east to the highlands. The last independant Maya kingdom fell to the Spanish in 1697, the City of Tah-Itza (Tayasal) now Flores in Guatemala. Mayan Peoples of today are among the most Resilient of the Native Americans. keeping much of thier culture in spite of 500 years of persecution. Highland farmers still use the Short Count (260 day ritual calendar). The Zapatista movement in Mexico is Predominantly Mayan, and go to any Highland Guatemalan town and you'll see the brightly coloured traditional dress (Huipuiles) of the Mayan women in abundance!

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Papá de Iñaki y Xhanté
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PostPosted: 08-09-2003 04:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

4imix nailed it out pretty well. Here are some books in english:

The Ancient Maya
by Robert J. Sharer, Sylvanus Griswold Ancient Maya Morley. Stanford Univ Pr.

The Lost Cities of the Mayas: The Life, Art, and Discoveries of Frederick Catherwood
by Fabio Bourbon

Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiche Maya
by Adrian Recinos (Translator), Delia Goetz (Translator), Aylvanus G. Morley (Translator)

You can find them pretty easily I think. There are some others, but they are not available in English or in the Amazon website. Saludos.
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PostPosted: 06-05-2004 19:16    Post subject: Early Maya Reply with quote

New Finds Put Maya Culture Back a Few Centuries
Wed May 5, 7:55 AM ET
By Thomas H. Maugh II Times Staff Writer

Archeologists excavating a 2,500-year-old Maya city in Guatemala
have unearthed buildings and massive carvings indicating the
presence of a royal metropolis of more than 10,000 people at a
time when, scientists had previously believed, the Maya were only
simple farmers.

New studies at the Cival site in the Peten jungle have unearthed
the oldest known carved portrait of a Maya king and two massive
stone masks of the Maya maize deity, discoveries indicating that
the Maya developed a complex and sophisticated civilization
hundreds of years earlier than previously believed.

The city of towering pyramids and sweeping plazas is yielding
other surprising artifacts, including jade and ceramic offerings
to the gods that may mark the beginnings of the Maya dynasties,
Vanderbilt University archeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli said
Tuesday during a National Geographic (news - web sites) Society
telephone news conference from Washington.

Estrada-Belli "is pushing back the time for the evidence of Maya
state institutions by several centuries," said archeologist Elsa
Redmond of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
"We had hints of these kinds of buildings from El Mirador,"
another Maya city of the so-called Preclassic Period, which dates
from roughly 2000 BC to AD 250, Redmond said.

The Maya civilization came into full bloom at cities such as
Palenque in Mexico and Tikal in Guatemala during the Classic
Period, beginning about AD 300. But other Preclassic sites have
been built over, often repeatedly, rendering interpretation of
the findings problematic. Cival, for reasons that are not clear,
was abandoned about AD 100, "never to be occupied again,"
Estrada-Belli said, and has lain relatively untouched since. "It
is very unusual to have a completely preserved Preclassic city
that was not buried by subsequent building," he added.

"It may have been a forgotten city", he said, "or it may have
been a sacred site whose memory was preserved and where building
was forbidden. And because it was preserved, it is now clear that
'Preclassic' is a misnomer," he said. The new evidence shows
that "Preclassic Maya societies already had many features that
have been attributed to the Classic Period ? kings, complex
iconography, elaborate palaces and burials. The origin of the
Maya civilization has to be found in the first part of the
Preclassic period, rather than the last part." Cival, which is
about 25 miles east of the much better known city of Tikal, was
discovered in 1984 by Ian Graham of Harvard University. Most of
the site was overgrown by jungle, however, and Graham's team
thought it was a minor outpost.

Estrada-Belli has been studying the nearby Classic Period city of
Holmul and was using satellite imaging and global positioning
systems to explore the surrounding area when he rediscovered Cival
four years ago. _The new technology showed that its ceremonial
center spanned half a mile, more than twice Graham's initial

Estrada-Belli and his colleagues have been digging there with
support from the National Geographic Society.

Their findings and those of others studying the Preclassic period
are the subject of a National Geographic documentary, "Dawn of
the Maya," which will air May 12 on PBS.

The most spectacular find at Cival occurred by accident.
Estrada-Belli reached into a fissure in the wall while examining
a dank looter's tunnel in the city's main pyramid and came into
contact with a piece of carved stucco that felt like a snake or a

Digging into the site from the other side of the pyramid, he
discovered a 15-by-9-foot stucco mask. The one visible eye was
L-shaped and the mouth was squared, with snake's fangs in its

"The mask's preservation is astounding," he said. "It's almost as
if someone made this yesterday." The looters, he added, "just
missed it." More recently, the team discovered a second,
apparently identical, mask on the other side of a set of stairs.
The eyes appear to be adorned with corn husks, suggesting the
Maya maize deity.

Estrada-Belli believes that the masks flanked a pyramid stairway
that led to the temple room, providing a backdrop for elaborate
rituals in which the king ? viewed by people in the plaza ?
impersonated the gods of creation.

The team also found a stela, or carved stone pillar, dating to
300 BC, showing the accession of a king whose name has not yet
been determined. _Such stelae were quite common in Classic Period
cities, but none this old have previously been found. "We didn't
know there were kings then," Estrada-Belli said.

The large plaza in front of the pyramid was the scene of offerings
to the Maya gods. In a recess in the plaza, the team found a red
bowl, two spondylus shells, a jade tube and a hematite fragment.
Behind the recess was a cross-shaped depression containing five
smashed jars, one on each arm of the cross and one in the center.
The jars signify water and date to 500 BC, he said.

Under the center jar were 120 pieces of jade ? an unusual
concentration of wealth for the period ? most of them round,
polished pebbles. Nearby were five jade axes, placed with their
blades pointing upward. The pebbles probably symbolize maize and
the axes sprouting maize plants, Estrada-Belli said.

Kings in the Classic Period were thought to embody the maize god
on Earth, and it seems that this tradition started much earlier
than was originally thought, he said.

The team also found a major clue to what probably was the ultimate
fate of Cival ? a hurriedly constructed defensive wall built about
AD 100. The 6-foot-high wall "was a desperate attempt to close off
the inner core of the site," he said. The find surprised him, he
said, because "there was no previous evidence of warfare in the
Preclassic Period." Ultimately, he said, Cival "probably met the
same end as many cities in the Classic Period": conquest by a more
powerful neighbor.

Copywright © 2004 Los Angeles Times


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Keeping the British end up
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PostPosted: 09-05-2004 21:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: 14-05-2004 17:07    Post subject: More Murals... Reply with quote

Guatemalan murals show sophistication of ancient Maya
By Marion Lloyd, Globe Correspondent
May 11, 2004

SAN BARTOLO, Guatemala -- In the sweltering bowels of a ruined
Mayan pyramid, a 10-hour drive to the nearest grocery store,
archeologists are painstakingly uncovering 2,000-year-old murals
that elaborately depict an early creation mythology.

Though they have been chipping away at the rock face for more
than two years, the archeologists continue to be astonished by
the artistic sophistication of the paintings, which predate the
Maya's Golden Age by 800 years.

"It's as if you didn't know the existence of the Renaissance,"
said William Saturno, the University of New Hampshire archeologist
who discovered the murals three years ago. "You know the art of
the 19th century and you think it's the high point ... when
suddenly someone stumbles into the Sistine Chapel and looks at
the moment where God touches the hand of Adam."

Saturno's find, widely considered the most important development
in Mayan archeology in 50 years, has provided an unprecedented
window into the Pre-Classic Maya, the dominant civilization
inhabiting southern Mexico and northern Central America from
1,000 BC to 250 AD. _Since the discovery, Saturno's team of
Guatemalan and US archeologists has uncovered the two standing
walls of the murals, which are contained within a partially
ruined chamber at the back of a 75-foot pyramid. _Mayan builders
knocked in the two other walls to allow them to construct another
layer, onion-style, on top of the existing structure. But Saturno
is optimistic he will be able to piece back together the rest of
the murals from rock fragments found inside the chamber. _He also
has set up a field school at San Bartolo, inviting six
undergraduate students, most from UNH, to join in the excavation
work this spring.

The paintings, which Saturno believes are from about 50 BC, have
transformed thinking on the Pre-Classic Maya, revealing that they
had both an elaborate written language and sophisticated
paintings. _"This is a unique view to look on what the late
Pre-Classic Maya thought about themselves and their relationship
to the world," said Karl Taube, an archeologist at the University
of California at Riverside who is the project's iconographer,
responsible for studying the murals' symbols and images. "It's
almost like a bible."

The compositions are quite complex, Taube said, and each figure
is unique, both in costume and facial expression. The painters
were obviously quite experienced. They could not correct their
mistakes because the paint is permanent, and they made few of
them, even in the fine detail of the images depicting plumes of
breath and spouts of blood.

Previously, the earliest known Mayan murals were discovered in
1946 at Bonampak, in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. They date to 796
AD, at the height of the Classic Period.

Unlike the Bonampak murals, which depict daily palace life, the
scenes at San Bartolo act out different episodes of the
supernatural creation myth.

They include a scene of the maize god, accompanied by scantily
clad maidens and warriors, emerging from a mythical "flower
mountain." In another scene, four bloody babies are catapulted
out of a water gourd to the farthest corners of the Earth.

Taube has managed to decipher many of the images by comparing
them with the "Popol Vuh," a Mayan text written 1,600 years
later. _"It's really exciting to see the ideology full-fledged,
and the `Popol Vuh' being spelled out on the wall in San
Bartolo at 50 BC," said Mary Miller, a specialist on early
Mesoamerican art at Yale University who has only seen photos of
the murals. "We didn't know that all this was in place -- the
compositional complexity, the ability to render the human figure."

The existence of sophisticated murals at a relatively small city
like San Bartolo was also a surprise, leading Saturno and other
experts to conclude that such murals must have decorated pyramids
throughout the Pre-Classic world. _"This means that these things
were everywhere," Saturno said. "We get to see how complex the
Mayan Pre-Classic Period really was."

The murals not only provide a codex of ancient Mayan mythology,
but also a key to deciphering early Mayan language. So far,
Saturno has uncovered 16 hieroglyphs, more than twice those
previously found on shards of pottery and stone slabs. The glyphs
also are the first discovered on a fixed site during the
Pre-Classic period.

"San Bartolo is going to be the place where we can connect the
glyphs with the scenery," said David Stuart, a Harvard
archeologist who is in charge of decoding the hieroglyphs found
at the site. To his surprise, Stuart, who recently returned from
a month in San Bartolo, said the early glyphs might even be more
complicated than those found during the Classic Period.

But he won't know for sure until he learns how to read them. So
far, he has deciphered only one of the glyphs, which means "lord"
and forms part of a caption next to a scene depicting a king's
coronation. _"It's a pure and unadulterated version of how the
universe was created and we don't have that even for the
Late-Classic Maya," Stuart said. _"It's really clear that San
Bartolo is giving us something new." For now, the murals are
likely to remain off limits to the public, to keep them safe from
looters and fluctuating humidity levels. San Bartolo is too
remote to make it viable as a tourist attraction, even if the
Guatemalan government had the money to build access roads,
develop the site, and provide adequate security.

During the three-month dry season, the ruins are a four-hour
drive in the best of circumstances from Flores, the nearest major
town, and the base for visiting the famous Tikal pyramids. During
the rest of the year, visitors would have to make the grueling
jungle trek by foot or donkey along old logging paths that become
treacherous swamps in the rain.

painted replicas soon may be on display at Harvard's Peabody
Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and in Guatemala City.

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King of Otters
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PostPosted: 05-07-2004 08:51    Post subject: Maya Reply with quote
Secrets of the Maya: Deciphering Tikal

After decades of intense research, the ancient ruins of Mexico and Central America are yielding new insights into the pre-Columbia culture

Tikal was one of the most powerful city-states in the Americas. Though magnificent, the ruins of Tikal visible today represent but a fraction of the original city-state. During its heyday, archaeologists say, "downtown" Tikal was about six square miles, though research indicates that the city-state's population may have sprawled over at least 47 square miles. Yet most of Tikal has not even been excavated.

For much of the 20th century, Maya experts followed the lead of Carnegie Institution of Washington archaeologist J. Eric Thompson, who argued that the Maya were peaceful philosophers and extraordinary observers of celestial events content to ponder the nature of time and the cosmos. Thompson, who died in 1975, theorized that Tikal and other sites were virtually unpopulated "ceremonial centers" where priests studied planets and stars and the mysteries of the calendar. It was a beautiful vision—but nearly all wrong.

When, in the 1960s, the hieroglyphs—the most sophisticated writing system created in the New World—were at last beginning to be deciphered, a new picture of these people emerged. Mayan art and writing, it turned out, contained stories of battles, sacrificial offerings and torture. Far from being peaceful, the Maya were warriors, their kings vainglorious despots. Maya cities were not merely ceremonial; instead, they were a patchwork of feudal fiefdoms bent on conquest and living in constant fear of attack.

It is one of the ironies of this view that evidence for it has long been in plain sight. At the base of Tikal's North Acropolis stands a row of tall carved stones, or stelae. Each stela depicts a sumptuously bedecked king, and the monoliths are covered in hieroglyphs that, once deciphered, illuminated our view of Maya life.
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I'm the Easter Platypus!
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PostPosted: 05-07-2004 10:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm hoping to visit Tikal at some point, it's meant to be quite good to visit. I love ruins, which makes being Scottish quite useful due to the supply of ruined buildings you can go and explore. Sometimes I think I should have become an archaeologist...
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PostPosted: 05-07-2004 10:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been to Tikal, and I can honestly say it was one of the most exhilarating and wonderful experiences I have ever had... could even be the best thing I have ever done.

We got there quite late so the place was empty, and there was an electrical storm brewing, we climbed to the top of several of the pyramids so were were above the tree canopy with the howler monkeys and bats just feet away. I would go back in a heartbeat.

The place is astounding.
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