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Map of the Maya World

  • By Peter Tyson
  • Posted 02.13.01
  • NOVA

In its heyday from about A.D. 300 to 900, the Maya civilization boasted hundreds of cities across a vast swath of Central America. Now archeological sites, these once-flourishing cities extended from Chichén Itzá in the northern Yucatán to Copán, about 400 miles to the south in modern-day Honduras. Each bore ceremonial centers where theocratic rulers practiced a complex religion based on a host of gods, a unique calendar, and ceremonies that featured a ball game and human sacrifice. The ancient Maya also mastered astronomy, mathematics, art and architecture, and a glyph system of writing on stone, ceramics, and bark paper. Using an interactive map, visit 15 of the better-known Maya sites.

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From Chichén Itzá in the north to Copán in the south, the Maya empire was vast and varied.

Credits

Images

(map)
WGBH Educational Foundation
(Chichén Itzá)
Deanna Bean/istockphoto.com
(Tulum, Uxmal, Sayil)
© S. Greg Panosian/istockphoto.com
(Palenque)
© Maxime VIGE/istockphoto.com
(Bonampak, Quiriguá)
© Charles & Josette Lenars/CORBIS
(Yaxchilán)
© Craig Lovell/CORBIS
(Tikal)
© Brian Raisbeck/istockphoto.com
(Caracol)
© Steve Geer/istockphoto.com
(Altun Ha)
© Graphically Speaking/istockphoto.com
(Uaxactún)
© Dave G. Houser/Corbis
(Seibal)
© Gianni Dagli Orti/CORBIS
(Copán)
© WGBH Educational Foundation
(Toniná)
© Macduff Everton/CORBIS

Related Links

  • Cracking the Maya Code

    The story behind the centuries-long decipherment of ancient Maya hieroglyphs

  • Decode Stela 3

    Read Maya hieroglyphs carved on an eighth-century stone monument, and hear them spoken aloud.

  • Speaking Ancient Maya

    Anthropologist Barbara MacLeod says that studying the ancient Maya language offers a unique window into the past.

  • Deciphering Maya: A Time Line

    Trace key discoveries in the effort to understand the Maya script.

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