Throughout several years, there still exists mysteries in the Mayan civilization. Until today, these still puzzle archeologists and historians. Recently, new technologies uncover new information about this ancient civilization in the Western world.
Scientists utilized innovative methods that have seen through jungle canopies and revealed more than 60,000 buildings that help shed light on the life of these Mayans. From the moment Columbus arrived in the land, it was revealed the civilization was already toward fading. But thanks to these technologies, more details are learned.
First, The Mayan Controversy
In the beginning, the Mayan civilization was not civilized nor advanced. These information came from Spanish colonizers to bring forth their goals and raise their reputation. Yet, what was not in the mainstream lessons was, within the range of seven to 11 million people were part of this particular ancient group. This number is a lot fewer than what the Spanish conquistadors reported. So what happened?
There are several theories surrounding this controversy. Around 1,200 years ago, the Mayan kingdom was in its golden age. This was several years before Columbus landed in the New World. Whether it was due to a disease or a massive natural disaster that wiped out this population, no concrete details are existing today.
Toward the mid-19th century, archeologists studied the Mayans. Since this initiative, interest for these groups grew and in 2018, more historians spearheaded exploration. Right at this very moment, there are now several miles of structures uncovered in the study. Along with this, they were interested to find out how the Mayans lived in terms of their culture.
They used the light detection technology to see through what was hidden beneath the lush forests in this part of the world, and what they saw was breathtaking.
Technology Reveals Information
In order to keep discovering this group, archeologists and historians are traveling to the area. Basing from their maps, they go through exact locations to find out. Without technology, progress was slow. The huge effort of flying planes over the areas had to be dealt with.
Aside from this, the situation in the forests was not favorable. Only around two percent of sunlight reaches the ground in where the Mayans were believed to have settled. Because of this scenario, the plans would grow higher to reach for the sun. Laser technology also played a big role in bringing hope to studying the Mayan temples and its people. They did not have to personally visit the place and it works pretty much like GPS, and sees through the thick forest layers.
Enthusiasts Fly To Mayan Grounds
Much of the research is funded by UNESCO in partnership with the government of Mexico. They found traces but only in the largest and most popular areas in geography. During the advent of airplanes, one of those who flew across the Yucatan Peninsula was Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne to see the place with a bird’s eye view. According to them, the land was “majestic and desolate.” They knew an amazing life once settled here, but recognizing that it already became extinct. For around 1,200 years, they got into the place where the Mayans lived.
How The Technology Works
After the application of the technology known as the light detection and ranging technique, many of the principles about the Mayans were debunked. There were 60,000 more structures uncovered a few years ago in 2018, including a seven-story high pyramid.
How did they do it? At the rate of 900,000 times per second, scientists placed pulses toward the ground to detect what the place looked like in the past. Since light detection technology was accurate, it allowed them to see the man-made Mayan buildings and how they were positioned. Read on to find out more about the results of the study.
Not only were they able to find out about the buildings, but they also were able to precisely conclude somewhere between seven to 11 million inhabitants were in the kingdom. There were even archeologists who said this number is still even a few. According to The Primary Market, it could even be double this number. It included agricultural life, networks of roads, and more.
They found wetlands that previously were thought not arable for farming. With the new technology, it made them realize that these lands actually cultivated fruits, vegetables, and other crops. The span? Nearly 150 square miles of farmlands. Among the crops included cacao, maize, beans, pineapples, squash, chili peppers, papayas, and avocados. These were the crops exported to Europe during the Mayans meeting with the colonizers.
The Mayans were great farmers. They annually re-planted, harvested, and worked on a farming cycle to make sure they will get plenty of produce. A branch of research was started focusing on this perspective of the study of the Mayan people, headquartered in California. The ancient groups had crops for poison and medicine. Ongoing studies are trying to find out how they cultivated this massive land.
Aside from farming, the Mayans were also infrastructure patrons. Scientists, through technology, found large networks of cities connected by roads. For example, these people worked on an impressive water management system that provided them with irrigation since it was considered difficult to source out water in this area in Central America. Cities were constructed around the irrigation systems.
Until more data were found with light detection technology. War is being studied to be the cause of why the Mayans were “wiped out.” The Mayans were an intelligent culture despite the timeline when they roamed the Earth. They worked to live via farming and build a great arena of infrastructure. Not only were these details uncovered, but they were also able to share the information in real-time.
The Mayans gradually abandoned their villages in the years of their collapse. But why would they leave their towns? Wars happened between civilizations and this culture was not spared.
Marriage and alliances between two regions would power up trade. However, when conflicts arise, these could lead to war. It is indeed true the Mayan culture was complex, and this was incredibly challenged with changing people’s beliefs and principles, almost the same way that began the First World War and the Second.
Poverty And Climate Change
Did the Mayans also experience economic challenges? Yes. They had a huge population to feed and with limited resources, they had to manage supply and demand. At some points, the land they farmed became over-cultivated, leading to deforestation and erosion. These tidbits of knowledge can also correlate natural disasters as the main reason why the population got wiped out. Plus, they had to claim lands to build infrastructure. Lack of food could also be the reason.
Lake Chichancanab Keeps Information
Beneath the canopy of forests, specialists believe there are still almost three million structures buried, not to mention around 40,000 square miles waiting to be explored. One point of research took them to Lake Chichancanab in present-day Mexico.
During the final years of the Mayans, it is written in history that a major drought affected the Yucatan. Around 70 percent of the water supply was lost, providing a domino effect to human survival.
Current research does not forget the older structures discovered and still being preserved today. It was a timely arrival of the Spaniards since they found a civilization that was already nearing collapse, thus easier for them to conquer. Furthermore, a man named John Lloyd Stephens produced a book titled “Incidents of Travel in Yucatan,” still being used as a reference today. It narrated Stephens’ sights during his own research.
How The Mayans Looked Like
Bones and skulls unearthed revealed the Mayans had distinctive facial features. They had sharper teeth, and being cross-eyed was a standard of beauty during their time. They also had a flat forehead and many parents who wanted this for their children had to press a board against their offspring’s forehead to achieve the look.
If you hadn’t known about the Mayan sharpened teeth, it was very literal. This particular physical attribute was beautiful for their eyes.
With this dental structure, they also added accessories right on their teeth.
Aside from these, the Mayans were also enthusiasts of medicine. They had an advanced science when curing diseases. For instance, hair was used to sew wounds and they had prosthetics from jewels. These were found in the skeletons archeologists excavated during their study. Of course who wouldn’t forget about the popular Mayan prediction of the end of the world?
Astronomy was their thing, believe it or not. The day of the creation of the Earth and its destruction were part of their beliefs. They had tools, and even had their own calendars.
Their language is also worth noting. Since the colonizers basically introduced new languages and education, the ancient way of speaking was seemed to have been buried in memory. But thanks to modern research, it was found to be a very complex tongue. The Mayans would read and write. Plus, there were more than 70 dialects and languages in their area. Many of these languages were based on the main one.
But perhaps the greatest source of data would be the present-day people. In the peninsula or particularly in Mexico, the Mayans seemed to have left pieces of their culture to current people who live in the area. Though most of the complex traditions are gone, their bloodline continues even among certain groups residing in the area where they settled.