Die Maya faszinieren bis heute - nicht zuletzt, weil noch immer unklar ist, wieso ihre Hochkultur mit Großstädten und riesigen Tempelanlagen schon. Das Volk der Maya prägte das südliche Mexiko. Noch heute leben viele Maya in Chiapas und Yucatan. Die beiden anderen großen Kulturen waren die der Azteken und die der Inka. Die Kultur der Maya wird bewundert und bestaunt - übrig geblieben sind bis heute.
Die Geschichte der Maya: Zwischen Mysterium und Wissen – eine EinführungDie Maya waren in ihrem Wissen weit voraus anderer Völker und doch bleiben sie ein Mysterium. Eine Einführung in ihre Geschichte. Möchten Sie mehr über die 3 größten Zivilisationen Südamerikas wissen? Wie heißen sie und wodurch unterscheiden sie sich? Finden Sie es hier heraus! Die Maya faszinieren bis heute - nicht zuletzt, weil noch immer unklar ist, wieso ihre Hochkultur mit Großstädten und riesigen Tempelanlagen schon.
Die Maya Neuer Abschnitt VideoDie Maya-Route: Guatemala - Länder Menschen Abenteuer (SWR) Die Maya sind ein indigenes Volk bzw. eine Gruppe indigener Völker in Mittelamerika, die insbesondere aufgrund der von ihnen im präkolumbischen Mesoamerika gegründeten Reiche und ihrer hoch entwickelten Kultur bekannt sind. Die Maya sind ein indigenes Volk bzw. eine Gruppe indigener Völker in Mittelamerika, die insbesondere aufgrund der von ihnen im präkolumbischen. Viele Mythen ranken sich um die Maya, die einst die am höchsten entwickelte Kultur auf den amerikanischen Kontinenten besaßen. Und die dann scheinbar. Die Maya sind ein Volk, das in Mittelamerika lebt. Heute sind die meisten Maya Bauern und leben auf der Halbinsel Yucatán.
Durch die Entschlüsselung der Schrift fand man heraus, dass die Maya kein friedlicher Kulturkreis waren. Tikal und Calakmul gelten als Zentren der beiden Machtblöcke.
Immer wieder soll es zu kriegerischen Auseinandersetzungen zwischen einzelnen Staaten gekommen sein. Einige Forscher vermuten, dass lange Zeit ein relatives Gleichgewicht zwischen den beiden Blöcken herrschte, dieses Gleichgewicht aber gegen Ende der klassischen Phase aus den Fugen geriet.
Denkbar ist auch ein Szenario, bei dem die Bevölkerung der Maya-Staaten sich gegen die eigenen Herrscher auflehnte und sich von ihnen befreite. Rücksichtsloser Raubbau an der Natur könnte letztlich ihre Lebensgrundlage zerstört haben.
So vermutet es unter anderem die NASA, die das einstige Maya-Gebiet mit Satellitenbildern analysiert hat. Demnach könnte eine dramatische Entwaldung stattgefunden haben, was in der Konsequenz zur Austrocknung weiter Landstriche geführt hat.
Auch in den Eisschichten der Antarktis kann man in diesem Zeitraum Abweichungen erkennen. All dies könnte auf ein globales Wetterphänomen hindeuten, was in diesem Fall für die Maya verheerende Folgen hatte.
Auch die Maya-Schriftzeichen brachten keine Erkenntnis über den Untergang der Kultur. Es ist ein weit verbreiteter Irrtum, dass die Maya ausgestorben sind.
Verschwunden ist in erster Linie die Kultur der sogenannten "klassischen Phase". Bis ins Jahrhundert scheint auch Uxmal verlassen worden zu sein.
Spätestens ab dem Erst wurde diese durch einen Aufstand, angeführt von den Xiu die mit Uxmal in Verbindung gebracht werden, das auch tatsächlich auf deren nachmaligen Territorium lag, gebrochen.
In Xuch, Puuc -Region, etwa 15 km südwestlich von Uxmal wurde von der Klassik bis ins Jahrhundert kontinuierlich Monumentalarchitektur errichtet.
Urbane und kulturelle Zentren der Postklassik, mit mehreren tausend Einwohnern waren vor allem die Residenz- oder Hauptstädte der einzelnen Fürstentümer.
Tayasal neue Zentren zu gründen, wovon letzteres zudem für die gesamte Mayakultur am längsten Bestand haben sollte. Auch in Chiapas, im Hochland des nachmaligen Guatemala und in El Salvador verlief die Entwicklung der postklassischen Mayakultur vergleichbar.
Ein kultureller Einfluss aus dem nördlicheren Mesoamerika machte sich auch hier bemerkbar. So wurden bspw.
Doppeltempel nach dem Vorbild des Templo Mayor errichtet. Die Mam wählten um Zaculeu zu ihrer Hauptstadt. Jahrhunderts durch ihre Nachbarn und ehemaligen Verbündeten die Cakchiquel gestoppt wurden.
Erst dadurch kehrte eine gewisse Ruhe in der Region ein. Archäologische Stätte Zama. Hauptpyramide von Zaculeu , Hauptstadt der Mam -Maya.
Zuerst bekam er sogar Unterstützung von der indigenen Bevölkerung, doch als diese seine Absichten erkannte, bekämpfte sie ihn. Auch Krankheiten und Unterernährung machten den Eindringlingen zu schaffen, teilweise plünderten sie in der Folge Felder der Maya.
Dieser konnte sich jedoch nicht gegen die Maya wehren und rettete sich mit den letzten Überlebenden nach Honduras. Die angrenzenden Maya zogen jedoch einen Belagerungsring um die Stadt und die Spanier mussten auf Grund von Nahrungsmangel fliehen.
Es wurde entschieden, dass das Land von Mexiko aus verwaltet werden sollte. Dies gipfelte in einem Urteil, das am Am Ende der Eroberung waren die Spanier nur mehr nominell Herrscher über das Mayagebiet, in Wirklichkeit jedoch waren ganze Landstriche aufgrund von Kriegen und vor allem Seuchen entvölkert.
Die ehemals herrschenden Fürstengeschlechter und führenden Familien der Maya blieben dennoch, nicht selten wenigstens bis ins Jahrhundert in führenden Positionen der Verwaltung.
Ab rebellierten die Nachkommen der Maya im sogenannten Kastenkrieg gegen die Autorität des mexikanischen Staates und bauten um den errichteten Tempel des Sprechenden Kreuzes ihre Hauptstadt Chan Santa Cruz , die erst von der mexikanischen Armee erobert werden konnte.
Jahrhundert in ihrer eigenständigen Kultur und Sprache infolge staatlich-gewalttätiger Unterdrückung ausgerottet wurden.
Durch den guatemaltekischen Bürgerkrieg haben sich jedoch etwa In Guatemala zählen etwa 40 Prozent ca. Menschen der Gesamtbevölkerung zu den Maya, in Belize sind es rund zehn Prozent, was etwa In Mexiko zählen die Mayathan etwa Auch heute noch leben die meisten Maya vom Maisanbau.
Die heutige Mayareligion ist eine Mischung aus Christentum und alten Maya-Bräuchen. Jede Maya-Gemeinde hat ihre eigenen religiösen und weltlichen Oberhäupter.
Opfergaben von Hühnern, Gewürzen oder Kerzen sind üblich. Die einzelnen Mayagruppen identifizieren sich über besondere Elemente ihrer traditionellen Kleidung, in der sie sich jeweils von anderen Maya-Gruppen unterscheiden und deren Ornamentik anteilig magisch symbolische Funktion besitzen siehe hierzu Artikel: Chamula.
Maya cities tended to expand haphazardly. The city centres comprised ceremonial and administrative complexes, surrounded by an irregularly shaped sprawl of residential districts.
Different parts of a city were often linked by causeways. Architecturally, city buildings included palaces, pyramid-temples , ceremonial ballcourts , and structures specially aligned for astronomical observation.
The Maya elite were literate, and developed a complex system of hieroglyphic writing. Theirs was the most advanced writing system in the pre-Columbian Americas.
The Maya recorded their history and ritual knowledge in screenfold books, of which only three uncontested examples remain, the rest having been destroyed by the Spanish.
In addition, a great many examples of Maya texts can be found on stelae and ceramics. The Maya developed a highly complex series of interlocking ritual calendars, and employed mathematics that included one of the earliest known instances of the explicit zero in human history.
As a part of their religion, the Maya practised human sacrifice. The Maya civilization developed within the Mesoamerican cultural area, which covers a region that spreads from northern Mexico southwards into Central America.
By BC, the early inhabitants of Mesoamerica were experimenting with the domestication of plants, a process that eventually led to the establishment of sedentary agricultural societies.
Mesoamerica lacked draft animals , did not use the wheel, and possessed few domesticated animals; the principal means of transport was on foot or by canoe.
The ritual Mesoamerican ballgame was widely played. The Mesoamerican language area shares a number of important features, including widespread loanwords , and use of a vigesimal number system.
The territory of the Maya covered a third of Mesoamerica,  and the Maya were engaged in a dynamic relationship with neighbouring cultures that included the Olmecs , Mixtecs , Teotihuacan, the Aztecs , and others.
The Maya civilization occupied a wide territory that included southeastern Mexico and northern Central America.
Farther north, the vegetation turns to lower forest consisting of dense scrub. The littoral zone of Soconusco lies to the south of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas,  and consists of a narrow coastal plain and the foothills of the Sierra Madre.
The major pre-Columbian population centres of the highlands were located in the largest highland valleys, such as the Valley of Guatemala and the Quetzaltenango Valley.
In the southern highlands, a belt of volcanic cones runs parallel to the Pacific coast. The highlands extend northwards into Verapaz , and gradually descend to the east.
The history of Maya civilization is divided into three principal periods: the Preclassic, Classic, and Postclassic periods.
The Maya developed their first civilization in the Preclassic period. Maya occupation at Cuello modern-day Belize has been carbon dated to around BC.
The report of the survey, in the journal Nature, suggests its use as a ceremonial observation of the winter and summer solstices, with associated festivities and social gatherings.
During the Middle Preclassic Period , small villages began to grow to form cities. In the highlands, Kaminaljuyu emerged as a principal centre in the Late Preclassic.
The Classic period is largely defined as the period during which the lowland Maya raised dated monuments using the Long Count calendar.
During the Early Classic, cities throughout the Maya region were influenced by the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico.
At various points during the Classic period, one or other of these powers would gain a strategic victory over its great rival, resulting in respective periods of florescence and decline.
During the 9th century AD, the central Maya region suffered major political collapse, marked by the abandonment of cities, the ending of dynasties, and a northward shift in activity.
Classic Maya social organization was based on the ritual authority of the ruler, rather than central control of trade and food distribution.
This model of rulership was poorly structured to respond to changes, because the ruler's actions were limited by tradition to such activities as construction, ritual, and warfare.
This only served to exacerbate systemic problems. Stelae were no longer raised, and squatters moved into abandoned royal palaces.
Although much reduced, a significant Maya presence remained into the Postclassic period after the abandonment of the major Classic period cities; the population was particularly concentrated near permanent water sources.
After the decline of Chichen Itza, the Maya region lacked a dominant power until the rise of the city of Mayapan in the 12th century.
New cities arose near the Caribbean and Gulf coasts, and new trade networks were formed. The Postclassic Period was marked by changes from the preceding Classic Period.
Cities came to occupy more-easily defended hilltop locations surrounded by deep ravines, with ditch-and-wall defences sometimes supplementing the protection provided by the natural terrain.
However, in practice one member of the council could act as a supreme ruler, while the other members served him as advisors.
Mayapan was abandoned around , after a period of political, social and environmental turbulence that in many ways echoed the Classic period collapse in the southern Maya region.
They were seized by a Maya lord, and most were sacrificed , although two managed to escape. The Spanish conquest stripped away most of the defining features of Maya civilization.
However, many Maya villages remained remote from Spanish colonial authority, and for the most part continued to manage their own affairs.
Maya communities and the nuclear family maintained their traditional day-to-day life. Traditional crafts such as weaving, ceramics, and basketry continued to be practised.
Community markets and trade in local products continued long after the conquest. At times, the colonial administration encouraged the traditional economy in order to extract tribute in the form of ceramics or cotton textiles, although these were usually made to European specifications.
Maya beliefs and language proved resistant to change, despite vigorous efforts by Catholic missionaries. The agents of the Catholic Church wrote detailed accounts of the Maya, in support of their efforts at evangelization, and absorption of the Maya into the Spanish Empire.
The final two decades of the 19th century saw the birth of modern scientific archaeology in the Maya region, with the meticulous work of Alfred Maudslay and Teoberto Maler.
In the s, the distinguished Mayanist J. Eric S. Thompson promoted the ideas that Maya cities were essentially vacant ceremonial centres serving a dispersed population in the forest, and that the Maya civilization was governed by peaceful astronomer-priests.
The city will continue to be inspected and scanned by archaeologists under thick forest canopy using LIDAR technology light detection and range in June Unlike the Aztecs and the Inca , the Maya political system never integrated the entire Maya cultural area into a single state or empire.
Rather, throughout its history, the Maya area contained a varying mix of political complexity that included both states and chiefdoms.
These polities fluctuated greatly in their relationships with each other and were engaged in a complex web of rivalries, periods of dominance or submission, vassalage, and alliances.
At times, different polities achieved regional dominance, such as Calakmul, Caracol , Mayapan, and Tikal. The first reliably evidenced polities formed in the Maya lowlands in the 9th century BC.
During the Late Preclassic, the Maya political system coalesced into a theopolitical form, where elite ideology justified the ruler's authority, and was reinforced by public display, ritual, and religion.
The divine authority invested within the ruler was such that the king was able to mobilize both the aristocracy and commoners in executing huge infrastructure projects, apparently with no police force or standing army.
The Maya political landscape was highly complex and Maya elites engaged in political intrigue to gain economic and social advantage over neighbours.
In other cases, loose alliance networks were formed around a dominant city. An overriding sense of pride and honour among the warrior aristocracy could lead to extended feuds and vendettas, which caused political instability and the fragmentation of polities.
From the Early Preclassic, Maya society was sharply divided between the elite and commoners. As population increased over time, various sectors of society became increasingly specialised, and political organization became increasingly complex.
Commoners included farmers, servants, labourers, and slaves. Such clans held that the land was the property of the clan ancestors, and such ties between the land and the ancestors were reinforced by the burial of the dead within residential compounds.
Classic Maya rule was centred in a royal culture that was displayed in all areas of Classic Maya art. The king was the supreme ruler and held a semi-divine status that made him the mediator between the mortal realm and that of the gods.
From very early times, kings were specifically identified with the young maize god , whose gift of maize was the basis of Mesoamerican civilization.
Maya royal succession was patrilineal , and royal power only passed to queens when doing otherwise would result in the extinction of the dynasty.
Typically, power was passed to the eldest son. Various points in the young prince's childhood were marked by ritual; the most important was a bloodletting ceremony at age five or six years.
Although being of the royal bloodline was of utmost importance, the heir also had to be a successful war leader, as demonstrated by taking of captives.
Maya political administration, based around the royal court, was not bureaucratic in nature. Government was hierarchical, and official posts were sponsored by higher-ranking members of the aristocracy; officials tended to be promoted to higher levels of office during the course of their lives.
Officials are referred to as being "owned" by their sponsor, and this relationship continued even after the death of the sponsor.
Ajaw is usually translated as "lord" or "king". In the Early Classic, an ajaw was the ruler of a city. Later, with increasing social complexity, the ajaw was a member of the ruling class and a major city could have more than one, each ruling over different districts.
It indicated an overlord, or high king , and the title was only in use during the Classic period. A sajal was ranked below the ajaw , and indicated a subservient lord.
A sajal would be lord of a second- or third-tier site, answering to an ajaw , who may himself have been subservient to a kalomte.
These last two may be variations on the same title,  and Mark Zender has suggested that the holder of this title may have been the spokesman for the ruler.
Different factions may have existed in the royal court. Rivalry between different factions would have led to dynamic political institutions as compromises and disagreements were played out.
In such a setting, public performance was vital. Such performances included ritual dances , presentation of war captives, offerings of tribute, human sacrifice, and religious ritual.
Their houses were generally constructed from perishable materials, and their remains have left little trace in the archaeological record.
Some commoner dwellings were raised on low platforms, and these can be identified, but an unknown quantity of commoner houses were not. Such low-status dwellings can only be detected by extensive remote-sensing surveys of apparently empty terrain.
Warfare was prevalent in the Maya world. Military campaigns were launched for a variety of reasons, including the control of trade routes and tribute, raids to take captives, scaling up to the complete destruction of an enemy state.
Little is known about Maya military organization, logistics, or training. Warfare is depicted in Maya art from the Classic period, and wars and victories are mentioned in hieroglyphic inscriptions.
The elite inhabitants of the city either fled or were captured, and never returned to collect their abandoned property.
The inhabitants of the periphery abandoned the site soon after. This is an example of intensive warfare carried out by an enemy in order to completely eliminate a Maya state, rather than subjugate it.
Research at Aguateca indicated that Classic period warriors were primarily members of the elite. From as early as the Preclassic period, the ruler of a Maya polity was expected to be a distinguished war leader, and was depicted with trophy heads hanging from his belt.
In the Classic period, such trophy heads no longer appeared on the king's belt, but Classic period kings are frequently depicted standing over humiliated war captives.
Maya inscriptions from the Classic show that a defeated king could be captured, tortured, and sacrificed. The outcome of a successful military campaign could vary in its impact on the defeated polity.
In some cases, entire cities were sacked, and never resettled, as at Aguateca. The captured nobles and their families could be imprisoned, or sacrificed.
At the least severe end of the scale, the defeated polity would be obliged to pay tribute to the victor. During the Contact period, it is known that certain military positions were held by members of the aristocracy, and were passed on by patrilineal succession.
It is likely that the specialised knowledge inherent in the particular military role was taught to the successor, including strategy, ritual, and war dances.
Maya states did not maintain standing armies; warriors were mustered by local officials who reported back to appointed warleaders.
There were also units of full-time mercenaries who followed permanent leaders. There is some evidence from the Classic period that women provided supporting roles in war, but they did not act as military officers with the exception of those rare ruling queens.
The atlatl spear-thrower was introduced to the Maya region by Teotihuacan in the Early Classic. Maya warriors wore body armour in the form of quilted cotton that had been soaked in salt water to toughen it; the resulting armour compared favourably to the steel armour worn by the Spanish when they conquered the region.
Trade was a key component of Maya society, and in the development of the Maya civilization. The cities that grew to become the most important usually controlled access to vital trade goods, or portage routes.
The Maya engaged in long distance trade across the Maya region, and across greater Mesoamerica and beyond. As an illustration, an Early Classic Maya merchant quarter has been identified at the distant metropolis of Teotihuacan, in central Mexico.
In the Early Classic, Chichen Itza was at the hub of an extensive trade network that imported gold discs from Colombia and Panama , and turquoise from Los Cerrillos, New Mexico.
Long distance trade of both luxury and utilitarian goods was probably controlled by the royal family. Prestige goods obtained by trade were used both for consumption by the city's ruler, and as luxury gifts to consolidate the loyalty of vassals and allies.
Trade routes not only supplied physical goods, they facilitated the movement of people and ideas throughout Mesoamerica. Little is known of Maya merchants, although they are depicted on Maya ceramics in elaborate noble dress.
From this, it is known that at least some traders were members of the elite. During the Contact period, it is known that Maya nobility took part in long distance trading expeditions.
When merchants travelled, they painted themselves black, like their patron gods, and went heavily armed. The Maya had no pack animals, so all trade goods were carried on the backs of porters when going overland; if the trade route followed a river or the coast, then goods were transported in canoes.
It was made from a large hollowed-out tree trunk and had a palm-covered canopy. The canoe was 2.
Trade goods carried included cacao, obsidian, ceramics, textiles, food and drink for the crew, and copper bells and axes. Marketplaces are difficult to identify archaeologically.
Unusually high levels of zinc and phosphorus at both sites indicated similar food production and vegetable sales activity. The calculated density of market stalls at Chunchucmil strongly suggests that a thriving market economy already existed in the Early Classic.
Maya art is essentially the art of the royal court. It is almost exclusively concerned with the Maya elite and their world.
Maya art was crafted from both perishable and non-perishable materials, and served to link the Maya to their ancestors. Although surviving Maya art represents only a small proportion of the art that the Maya created, it represents a wider variety of subjects than any other art tradition in the Americas.
The Maya exhibited a preference for the colour green or blue-green, and used the same word for the colours blue and green. They sculpted artefacts that included fine tesserae and beads, to carved heads weighing 4.
Maya stone sculpture emerged into the archaeological record as a fully developed tradition, suggesting that it may have evolved from a tradition of sculpting wood.
The few wooden artefacts that have survived include three-dimensional sculptures, and hieroglyphic panels. The rough form was laid out on a plain plaster base coating on the wall, and the three-dimensional form was built up using small stones.
Finally, this was coated with stucco and moulded into the finished form; human body forms were first modelled in stucco, with their costumes added afterwards.
The final stucco sculpture was then brightly painted. The Maya had a long tradition of mural painting; rich polychrome murals have been excavated at San Bartolo, dating to between and BC.
Among the best preserved murals are a full-size series of Late Classic paintings at Bonampak. Flint , chert , and obsidian all served utilitarian purposes in Maya culture, but many pieces were finely crafted into forms that were never intended to be used as tools.
Maya textiles are very poorly represented in the archaeological record, although by comparison with other pre-Columbian cultures, such as the Aztecs and the Andean region , it is likely that they were high-value items.
Such secondary representations show the elite of the Maya court adorned with sumptuous cloths, generally these would have been cotton, but jaguar pelts and deer hides are also shown.
Ceramics are the most commonly surviving type of Maya art. The Maya had no knowledge of the potter's wheel , and Maya vessels were built up by coiling rolled strips of clay into the desired form.
Maya pottery was not glazed, although it often had a fine finish produced by burnishing. Maya ceramics were painted with clay slips blended with minerals and coloured clays.
Ancient Maya firing techniques have yet to be replicated. They stand from 10 to 25 centimetres 3. It includes a set of features such as hieroglyphs painted in a pink or pale red colour and scenes with dancers wearing masks.
One of the most distinctive features is the realistic representation of subjects as they appeared in life. Bone, both human and animal, was also sculpted; human bones may have been trophies, or relics of ancestors.
The Maya generally hammered sheet metal into objects such as beads, bells, and discs. In the last centuries before the Spanish Conquest, the Maya began to use the lost-wax method to cast small metal pieces.
One poorly studied area of Maya folk art is graffiti. At Tikal, where a great quantity of graffiti has been recorded, the subject matter includes drawings of temples, people, deities, animals, banners, litters, and thrones.
Graffiti was often inscribed haphazardly, with drawings overlapping each other, and display a mix of crude, untrained art, and examples by artists who were familiar with Classic-period artistic conventions.
The Maya produced a vast array of structures, and have left an extensive architectural legacy. Maya architecture also incorporates various art forms and hieroglyphic texts.
Masonry architecture built by the Maya evidences craft specialization in Maya society, centralised organization and the political means to mobilize a large workforce.
A Classic-period city like Tikal was spread over 20 square kilometres 7. The labour required to build such a city was immense, running into many millions of man-days.
Maya cities were not formally planned, and were subject to irregular expansion, with the haphazard addition of palaces, temples and other buildings.
SIGN UP. RELATED CONTENT. Drought May Have Spelled End for Maya. What Caused the Aztec Empire to Fall?
Scientists Uncover New Clues. New Study Confirms Ancient Maya Codex is Genuine. These calendars were adopted by later Mesoamerican civilizations as well.
Animals and Nature Computer coding Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life Earth English History Human Body Maths Music, Art, and Literature Science Space Sports Transport More Find Out.
Toggle text. The Maya were excellent beekeepers, and raised stingless bees for honey.Usually, only a single scribe signed a ceramic vessel, but multiple sculptors are known to have recorded their names on stone sculpture; eight sculptors signed one stela at Piedras Negras. Oakley, Champions League Live Rubin, Benjamin B. There is abundant evidence that palaces were far more than simple Knightfall Staffel 2 Stream residences, and that a range of courtly activities took place in them, including audiences, formal receptions, and important rituals. See also: List of Maya gods and supernatural beings. The Maya writing system is one of the outstanding achievements of the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas.