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All main topics / History / Mysteries of Ancient Maya

Mysteries of the Ancient Maya Midterm 1 (91 Cards)

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When was the Paleoindian Period and what distinguished it?
Paleoindian: Earliest occupation – 7000 BC
Nomadic small bands that hunted big game
Egalitarian society (no social stratification)
Flinted points
Fishing and gathering to supplement diet
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How was Teotihuacan laid out? What major structures are present there?
Teotihuacan was laid out in a grid. The major thoroughfare was called the Avenue of the Dead.

The major structures present at Teotihuacan were the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the moon and the Feathered serpent pyramid.
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What was inside the Feathered Serpent Pyramid?
140 (captive war prisoners?) bound offered as human sacrifices to the gods. They were laid in calendrical and cosmological patterns.
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In Paleoindian society, what was hierarchy based on?
Immediate social need (heterarchical).
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What was the name of the Teotihuacano rain god?
Tlaloc, an Earth deity.
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Who ruled Teotihuacan?
It is unclear who ruled Teotihuacan, as there is little evidence of a royal class. There are no royal burials or named rulers.
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How did the Teotihuacano choose rulers? What was their responsibility towards Gods?
Rulership was most likely tied to cosmological position.

Rulers were in charge of mediating between humanity and the gods.
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What were some of the trade items in Teotihuacan?
Quetzal Birds from Maya
Jaguar Skins and Pelts
Jade
Salt
Textiles
Ceramic
Obsidian
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What is the most quintessentially Maya site?
Tikal.
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When were relations between Tikal and Teotihuacan peaceful?
From the Preclassic to early classic. Things change in AD 374 AD with the accession of Spearthrower Owl.
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Who of the Teotihuacano invaded the Mayan World? What place did he conquer?
Sihyaj K'ahk, a Teotihuacan warlord invaded Tikal with little resistance.
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Who did Sihyaj K'ahk anoint to rule Tikal and Uaxactún?
Yax Nuun Ahiin.
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Who was the successor to Yax Nuun Ahiin?
Sihyaj Chan K'awill II.
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What is the most important stela in Mayan history? What does it depict and why is it important?
Stela 31 in Tikal. It depicts Sihyaj Chan K'awill in very Mayan garb, being anointed ruler by Yax Nuun Ahiin. The backside gives a very detailed account of the actions, and speaks of a respect for the Maya.

It speaks of the gods as being "half diminished" and that the new leaders must be the caretakers of the gods.

Refers to 28 provinces, which suggests a larger sociopolitical structure.
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What happened to Sihyaj Chan K'awill?
He is likely murdered or killed in a coup. He is beheaded and is missing his hands inside his tomb.
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Who unites the Copán Valley after Sihyaj Chan K'awill dies? What did he accomplish?
Kinich Yax Kúk Mó.

He founds a ritual center and a seat of authority at Copán. He founds a dynasty that lasts until 822 AD.

His name integrates Maya and Teotihuacano style.
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What was the Rosalila and who was buried there?
Temple 16 at Copán. It was remarkable for its stucco decoration, and highly garish colors. It was encased in a much larger structure over time

Yax K'uk' Mó is buried there.
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Was Yax K'uk Mó Teotihuacano or Mayan?
Unclear. While he identified as Teotihuacano, his genetic markers trace him back to Tikál.
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Which were more refined, Folsom or Clovis points?
Folsom points were more refined.
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How do found stone points point to the mixing of two Mesoamerican paleoindian cultures?
In central America/south america, we see fishtailed points. In south America, we see pure fishtailed points. In Mexico and more northerly areas we see bifacially flaked points. In central america, we see hybrid points, which suggests the mixing of two cultures.
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Was there much modification of the landscape in Archaic Period culture?
No. The agriculture was very low intensity.
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What were macrobands?
Bands of roving nomads that lived independently but returned to specific areas at certain times for rituals and gatherings.
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What was the major turning date for Mayan agriculture?
3400 BC. This is the point before which fishing and gathering were supplemented by agriculture, and after which local fauna supplemented agriculture.
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What is the difference between extensive and intensive agriculture?
Extensive agriculture: lots of land to provide food
Intensive agriculture: lots of land modification to produce food
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What was the mesoamerican triad?
Maize, beans and Squash. These three were planted together for greater productivity and provided a complete protein when consumed together.
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What were Chantuto Villages?
coastal villages characterized by large discarded-shell mounds. These mounds had inner bands which suggested not permanent but cyclical occupation.
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What is some evidence that Archaic people were ethnically Maya?
Agricultural practices are consistent from Archaic periods to later times.

Lithic Technology only changes gradually and there is no major shift.
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Where do we find the first Mayan houses?
In the Early Preclassic Period.

There was little differentiation between individual houses. The most differentiation we see is between dwelling and civic spaces.
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Were Mayan houses continually modified?
Yes. They often started as small houses and were repeatedly buried and rebuilt.
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When do we see the first Mayan Ceramics and what were their phases of development?
We first see Mayan Ceramics in the Early Preclassic.

In the Barra Phase (1800 BC) The ceramics were very complex and were highly decorated and refined. Predominantly Tecomate ("neckless vessel").

In the Locona Phase (1700-1500BC) we see even more elaborate forms, including the introduction of legged vessels.

Ceramics appear to have been developed elsewhere then introduced. It is unclear as to where exactly they came from.
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Where was the first quatrefoil found?
La Blanca.
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What was interesting about San Lorenzo?
Very Large city (10,000 inhabitants)

Drainage System

Large leaps in social stratification

Colossal basalt heads

Large import and export of goods
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What is a celt?
A piece of rock used as a claim to a certain amount of Maize, but not used as currency, but as a means of exchange.
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Where did the Maya move after they abandoned San Lorenzo?
La Venta.
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How was La Venta Aligned?
8 degrees West of North.
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What culture was La Venta?
Olmec.
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What is Olmec Religion based on?
Based on Maize and Agriculture, and building a fundamental personal relationship with the forces of nature which then creates personal wealth. It is not based on trying to understand forces like rain or thunder or maize, but rather a personal connection with these forces.

They believed in shamanistic transformation where people could change into their spirit animal.
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Where was the Cascajal block found?
La Venta.
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What differences do we see between the Middle and Late Preclassic Maya?
There are now very significant differences in social status between elite and workers.

There is a codification of religion and ideological practices.

There are increasing trends toward urbanism, including the building of extensive apartment complexes.

The giant cities of the classic period are founded.

Rulership is based on cosmological position, not individual traits.
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Which site was argued by Coe and others to be the conduit between Olmec cultures and Late Preclassic Maya?
Izapa
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Where was the famous "Offering 4" found?
La Venta.
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What were the 3 bands on Stelae and what did they represent?
Sky band: represents the arena of the Gods
Terrestrial Band: Represents the Earth and material world.
Watery Underworld: represents a nebulous place individuals go when they die.

There is usually a "World Tree" which unites the three bands.
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What was on the La Mojarra Stela?
The first evidence of a Mayan script. It was a Mayan style of writing that was not quite Maya.

It appeared to be a fully developed style of writing. it suggests that writing was developed mainly on perishable media. It is very close to Maya writing but only lasts a short time.
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What were the models for the Origin of Mayan Civilization?
Interaction Sphere Model - trade for powerful items gains power between ethnic groups.

Resource deficiency Model - scarcity of resources gives select few the opportunity for wealth.

First Founders Hypothesis - first settlers were able to get the best land, and subsequent generations wer able to gift or lease prime land.
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What major sites were found in the Mirador Basin and when was their apex?
El Mirador and Nakbe. In the late Preclassic.
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How did Mayans represent the earth in their murals?
As a turtle.
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What was El Tigre?
The large living complex at El Mirador.
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What was La Danta?
A massive pyramid at the complex at El Tigre. It was the biggest pyramid in the Mesoamerican world.
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Were temples in the Preclassic funerary temples?
No. There are no burials or royal tombs in Preclassic temples. They were more ritual spaces.
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What is a Sakbe?
A raised causeway. In this fashion the Maya were able to move quickly between their cities.
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After La Mojarra, where do we see more Maya writing?
In the San Bartolo Murals. These murals describe the Mayan Religion and the responsibility of Mayan Leaders.
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What happened at the end of the Preclassic Period?
A massive depopulation: El Mirador is abandoned, and other sites in the Mirador basin become less populous as people move to other areas.

Reasons hypothesized: war, famine, environmental degradation, overpopulation, etc.
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When was the Archaic Period and what characterized it?
Archaic 7000 BC – 2000 BC
More sedentary communities
Maize agriculture
Near end of period, movement from egalitarian society to more hierarchical society.
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When was the Early Preclassic Period and what characterized it?
Early Preclassic 2000 BC – 1200 BC
Origins of village life, pottery, figurines
Beginnings of social stratification
Early Olmec influence on Pacific Coast
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When was the Middle Preclassic Period and what characterized it?
Middle Preclassic 1000 BC – 400 BC
Earliest lowland Maya villages
Spread of Izapan civilization, calendar and writing
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When was the Late Preclassic Period and what characterized it?
Late Preclassic 400BC-100 AD
Massive Pyramid building in lowlands
First lowland Maya dated Stela at Tikal

Transference of Olmec motifs and possibly modes of rulership to Maya region

Increasing social stratification with royal elites living in palaces while the majority of the population resides in perishable pole and thatch housing

Codification of religion and ideological practice Increasing trend toward urbanism, particularly for elites

Building of larger and more impressive monumental architecture
Founding of the great cities of the Classic Period Rulership based on cosmological position, not individual traits
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Where was Izapa located?
The Pacific Coastal Plain
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Where was La Blanca located?
In the Petén.
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Where was La Venta Located?
The Gulf Coast.
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Where was San Lorenzo / Tenochtitlan Located?
Central Mexico
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Where was El Manati?
Near the Gulf Coast of Mexico
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Early Classic Period
oEarly Classic 250–600 AD
•Teotihuacan interference (invasion) and influence
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Where is Teotihuacan Located?
The Valley of Mexico in Central Mexico.
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What and where was Beringia?
The Bering land bridge was a land bridge roughly 1,000 miles (1,600 km) wide (north to south) at its greatest extent, which joined present-day Alaska and eastern Siberia at various times during the Pleistocene ice ages.
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Where was San Bartolo Located?
In the Peten
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Where was Teotihuacan?
Central Mexico
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Where was Tikal Located?
In the Peten
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Where was Izapa?
The Pacific Coastal Plain.
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Where was Monte Verde?
Southern Chilé.
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Where was El Mirador?
In the Peten.
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Where was the Xihuatoxla Shelter?
Balsas River Valley
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Where was Copán?
Near the east/west border between Guatemala and Honduras.
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Where was La Sufricaya?
In the Peten.
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What was the Single Migration Theory?
Settlers traveled over the Bering land bridge from Russia/Asia, peopling the Americas. Some followed the coast all the way down to Central America.
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What was the Multiple Migration Theory?
Some settlers traveled across the Bering land bridge to the Americas, and some traveled across the Pacific from Australia, Oceania or Asia.
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What changed in Maya culture between the Paleoindian Period and the Archaic Period?
People became less nomadic and adopted a more sedentary lifestyle.

They also started to grow some plants, in a horticultural style, but without intensive agriculture.
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Where did Maize Agriculture originate?
Maize agriculture was first found at the Xihuatoxtla shelter in the Balsas River basin, around 9000-7800 BC.
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What was the earliest site that exhibited social stratification in the Mayan culture?
La Blanca was the earliest site with a series of mounds of differentiated size.  Social standing was denoted by artifact distributions between different mounds. Wealthy people had more belongings and more variety of belongings.
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What was the first site with obvious outward displays of wealth?
Wealth and power were displayed in their full glory in San Lorenzo / Tenochtitlan. There were carved statues and heads of persons of high status, also status was denoted by building size. Elite had larger buildings and mounds.
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What evidence do we have of Olmec-Maya contact?
There are Olmec and Maya hybrid artworks in many Maya areas. The Maya looked at the Olmec as a mother culture or sister culture (up for debate).

Many shared beliefs

Maya representation of Maize God is an Olmec Face

Trade of valuable stones and Jaguar Pelts, Quetzal Feathers, salt. Olmec had shell from Gulf Coast, as well as rubber and perishable goods as well as Olmec Ceramics
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Who was Eve of Naharon?
Female buried in now-submerged cave near Tulum, Mexico, which dates to more than 11,500 years ago

Evidence for a single migration
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When did the term Mesoamerica originate and what is it defined by?
Originated in the 1940s by archaeologists

It is defined by a number of shared cultural traits.
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When did modern interest in the Maya happen?
The 1800s-1900s. European interests were high due to the romance of the ancient ruins.
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Pacific Coastal Plains
Dramatic Coastal Plains.

Contains the most history.
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Maya Highlands
Volcanic Mountain Ranges with lots of volcanic activity

Cooler climate
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Maya Lowlands
Flat Limestone Sheet

Divided into Different areas, northern southern and central.

Low lying areas are extremely vegetated.

There are some granite mountains.
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When is the rainy season in the Mayan areas?
May through June.
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Was Mayan Society a Democracy?
No. There were many written, defined social hierarchies.
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Is genetic evidence reliable when determining the origin of the Maya?
No. 80% of the genes died due to European colonialism, and most of the current indigenous people have African or European genetic markers.
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What evidence does linguistics provide for the origin of the Maya?
Linguistic variation is very great in the area, suggesting the multiple migration hypothesis.
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What was talud tablero architecture?
a system of sloped areas called talud and recessed areas called tablero, that made up the ascending wall structure of teotihuacan style structures.
Flashcard set info:
Author: fooboozlie
Main topic: History
Topic: Mysteries of Ancient Maya
School / Univ.: UC Riverside
City: Riverside
Published: 15.08.2012
 
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