Keeping your teaching of the Maya at KS2 up-to-date.

Key point 1

Historical opinion is changing all the time often in light of new evidence, literally. The latest technology using lasers has enabled archaeologists to discover up to 60,000 hidden Mayan buildings in present-day Guatemala. Unfortunately they can’t be dated. Most of these are houses, palaces and defensive fortifications. This means that the Mayan civilization may have been 3 or 4 times larger than previously thought, at least twice the size of population of Medieval England.

Key point 2

Mayan cities were NOT built on a grid system but incorporated large open spaces both within the townscape and outside

Key point 3

Although there is still some uncertainty about the nature of human sacrifice it is now believed that this was not commonplace. Where it happened it may have involved just prisoners-of-war.

Key point 4

The Maya were highly regarded not just for their sophisticated system of writing using glyphs-which were as flexible as our alphabet but also for their ability to farm a hostile terrain. Remember that they never grazed animals and grew mainly maize which , unlike wheat, they could cultivate alongside trees using terraces.

Key point 5

The Mayan empire did not decline suddenly and everywhere  but the decline was more transitional. In some areas communities were deserted but in other the process of decline took several hundred years. Coastal towns continued to trade.

Key point 6

Most historians, given the choice would have preferred to have lived in Mayan lands than in Saxon England at the time.

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