The Mayan civilization is said to have developed in a region that today comprises the south-eastern part of Mexico, the western parts of El Salvador and Belize, and almost entire Belize and Guatemala. Maya or Mayan is a term coined in modern times to refer collectively to different kinds of people who lived in this region. According to various sources, the Mayan empire was centrally located in today’s Guatemala. The Mayans were famous for their stunning architecture, agriculture, pottery, symbolic artwork, and creation of calendars. The empire reached its peak in the 6th century A.D. However, by the time the 10th century arrived, maximum Mayan cities were abandoned for reasons that are still debatable. But there isn’t a shade of doubt that the Mayans were among the most brilliant races ever.
The Mayans enjoyed their sports and among the deadliest ones was a game in which those who participated had to pass a ball to another player of their team using only their knees, hips, and elbows. Why was the game deadly? The losing team was used as a sacrifice. The players wore special clothing to prevent any injuries during the game. The entire clothing comprised a handguard which the players wore around their wrists.
Archaeologists discovered a monkey-shaped skull and believe that the skull was used as a handguard. The Mayans believed that they could play this game even after their death. Therefore, they created stone versions of the clothing to take part in this game in their afterlife. These were discovered later on inside the iconic Mayan tombs. The monkey-shaped skulls were made of limestone and looked quite similar to a monkey’s head. The Mayans used limestone as a material for creating art and most of their art represented monkeys. Even some of the Mayan gods were depicted in the form of a monkey.
The Romans have always been known for their magnificent baths. However, the Mayans too had their version of those baths which were known as sweat houses. A team of researchers unearthed a peculiar structure in Cuello, north of Belize at the onset of the 21st century, but couldn’t figure out what it was. Later on, it was revealed that the structure was nothing else but a sweat house. After further discovery, it was found out that the Mayans used these sweat houses around 900 B.C. or probably, earlier.
The main purpose of the sweat houses was to cleanse the body. These sweat houses were also used to heal various diseases. Another clue suggested that the Mayans utilized their structures to connect with the supernatural. These were like a small hut inside which a fire was lit. Not more than ten people could sit within at a particular time. The sweat houses were often used to cure ailments, mostly fevers, and treat people wounded by poisonous creatures. They were also used after a child’s birth.
Fountains and Toilets
As per a study carried out in 2009, the Mayans used water pressure to construct fountains and toilets. There is a misconception that the Spanish colonizers were the first people who knew about creating water pressure. A detailed investigation was done to detect how the detailed water management system operated in a Mayan city. Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico is a place that was inhabited by 6000 people and had more than 1500 structures.
The area boasted of 9 waterways, 56 springs, and lengthy trails of waterbodies. A comprehensive investigation suggests that the residents of Palenque implemented an advanced system to create and utilize water pressure by the middle of the 8th century A.D. Palenque was well-known across the Mayan region for its intricate system of water management.
Ceren, a village in El Salvador, is considered the New World Pompeii. The reason behind the naming is that historians came to know several things regarding the basic daily lifestyle of the Mayans. The historians could also unearth the way a few people died. As per the studies, Ceren is believed to be the best village of the Mayan empire across Latin America that has been preserved in the best possible way.
Owing to that, the archaeologists were able to get a clear insight into the Mayans’ way of living. Various pieces of evidence disclose the fact that Ceren was not influenced by, or was not under the control of, the Mayan elite. Ceren was autonomous and independent and the people could control various aspects of societal life.
The Maya blue recipe, the life force ceremony, and sustainable technology, are some of the other secrets of the Mayan world.