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- -Home > General Cancun Information > Archeological sites -


Mayan Culture and Archeology

The Mayan culture was considered the most advanced civilization in the American Continent; while the Europeans still thought the earth was flat, Mayans have developed a perfect calendar of 365 days for our planet as well as a calendar for Venus, Mars and the Moon; they also contemplated an adjustment of this earth calendar by adding four days every thirteen years in order to have the same accuracy in time as we do now by adding an extra day to February every four years.

Chichen Itza    

Chichen Itza

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Along with this knowledge developed by observation, they constructed religious buildings and pyramids with perfect astronomical alignments, buildings that gave place to impressive displays of light and shadows phenomena in specific astronomical moments such as the equinox, which is the time when the sun crosses the plane of the earth's equator, making night and day of approximately equal length all over the earth and occurring on March 21 (spring equinox) and September 22 (autumnal equinox).

Specialist consider that the Mayans where the only civilization that had a language instead of a dialect as other groups at the time, this difference is given by the fact that a dialect has only the possibility of being spoken and a language is fully spoken and written down.

Architects, Astronomers, Literates; The Mayans where also amazing mathematicians, the Mayans used a vigesimal system which takes groups of twenty instead of ten as the decimal system that we use today. Mayans developed the concept of zero and represented it in their glyphs by 36 BC. Inscriptions show that the Mayans could work with sums up to the hundreds of millions and dates so large it would take several lines just to represent it.

In a similar way to many modern cultures, the Mayan society was divided in different social classes, religion played a very important role in Mayan life, the priests where the ones that had all the knowledge and privileges, as well as a strong influence in those in power.

Mayans had a polytheist religion which means that they belief in more than one god or in many gods, for example we can mention Kukulkan as the god of fertility, Chaac the god of rain and thunder, Kinich Ahau was the Sun God; In Maya mythology, Yum Caax ("lord of the woods") was the personification of maize and the god of agriculture and nature, Ixchel, was an earth and moon goddess, patroness of weavers and pregnant women, Ah Puch: the god of Death. Nacon was the god of War. Itzamna the ruler of heaven, the day and night, he was associated with the points of the compass and their colors (east, red; north, white; west, black; and south, yellow).

Another important figure in Mayan mythology was Gukumatz a culture hero who taught the Toltecs and later the Mayans the arts of civilization, including codes of law, agriculture, fishing and medicine. He came from an ocean, and eventually returned to it. According to Mayan legend, Gukumatz will return to the Earth during the End of Times. He also represents the forces of good and evil, similar to the ying-yang paradigm of Oriental religions.

There are two important mysteries for scientists about the Mayan civilization; the first one is that up to this day, nobody knows the reason why they abandoned their ceremonial centers. The second and most amazing mystery is the question “Why is that after more than five thousand years of perfect time chronology (5126 to be precise), the Mayan calendar stops on December 21st 2012?”

Recent scientific discoveries state that part of the 2012 mystery stems from the stars. On the winter solstice in 2012, the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in about 26,000 years. This means that "whatever energy typically streams to Earth from the center of the Milky Way will indeed be disrupted on 12/21/12 at 11:11 p.m. Universal Time," Mayans knew about this long before our powerful telescopes were built or even imagined.



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