Maya Science and Daily Life Mrs. Allred 5th Grade An Interesting Find In 1984 , archaeologists discovered a jar in a Guatemalan dig. This jar could not be pulled loose. They eventually removed it by twisting. The ancient Maya had invented screw-top lids! What does this small find tell us about the Maya people? Writing System The Maya Civilization developed a system of writing based on glyphs Picture symbols that expressed thoughts and ideas rather than on an alphabet of letters. What are some other civilizations that use picture symbols? Maya Calendars The Maya calculated that there were 365.2420 days in a year without special tools. Modern astronomers, using the latest technology, measure that year at 365.2422 days. Maya Solar Calendar Maya calendar was based on the sun. It has 18 months with names like Pop and Zip. 1. Why was it important for Maya priests to develop a calendar? The priests needed to measure time to figure out when to hold religious ceremonies. Sacred Round 260-day calendar that astronomers produced. This was used to keep track of religious holidays and other important events. 2. What was the Sacred Round? The Sacred Round was a 260-day calendar that kept track of important religious holidays. Inventing Zero Invented a powerful system of number symbols. A dot stood for one. A bar stood for five. A shell stood for zero. The Maya used the symbol for zero (shell) as a placeholder Ex. 201 or 20 The Maya were among the first in the World to discover the concept of zero. 3. What contribution did the Maya make to mathematics? They developed a system of number symbols. They used a symbol as a placeholder and were among the first people in the world to develop the concept of zero. Astronomy and Temples Temples were built in such a way that the sun would shine directly on the most important part of the temple on important days. In Chichén Itzá, on the spring equinox and the fall equinox, the rising sun shines on a statue of a serpent at the base of the pyramid. As the sun rises, the serpent slithers done the stairs of the pyramid Equinox: one of the two days in a year when there is an equal amount of daytime and nighttime. 4 How did the Maya use their knowledge of astronomy to locate their temples? Give an example. The sun shone directly on the most important part of the temple. For example, at Chichén Itzá, on the equinoxes, the sun shone on a statue of a serpent. How the Maya People Lived Maya people were farmers. The main crop was corn. They also grew beans, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and pumpkins. Farmers lived in one-room huts made out of mud and grass. Men/boys farmed. Women/girls cooked, cleaned, and made clothing and pottery. Babies Maya people thought that being slightly crossed eyes was a sign of physical beauty. Mothers hung a bead from a baby’s nose to help develop that condition. They also thought a flat head was a sign of beauty. Strapped newborn babies to a board on their back. The board would flatten the baby’s soft skull, giving the child the desired look. Coming of Age At age 5, children began to help with chores. Boys had a white bead braided into his hair. Girls had a string tied to the waist with a red shell attached. At age 14, an initiation ceremony was performed to mark their passage to adulthood. Priest would cut the bead from the boys hair and a girl’s mother would cut the string from her daughter’s waist. Celebrate with family and neighbors. Marriages Marriages were arranged and more like business deals between families. Priests were consulted before a marriage date was set. Priests consulted the stars and gods to find a day that would bring good fortune. Where Did the Maya People Go? Maya kept careful historical records up until the 900s. In the 900s, the writing mysteriously stopped and temples fell into disrepair. Archaeologists have theories, but can’t find anything that would prove any of them are correct. Civil War, Disease, Disaster, etc… Whatever the cause, the once great Maya cities were abandoned and swallowed up by the jungle. The Maya scattered. But the people themselves did not disappear completely. Today, millions still speak languages derived from ancient Maya. 5. What happened to the Maya? No one knows for sure what happened to the Maya. It could have been a civil war, deadly disease, invaders, famine or earthquake.