Ancient Mayan Civilization

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Ancient Mayans Civilizations history has shaped Central America and influenced the world by the study of their hieroglyphic scripts, calendar, mathematics and art of the remains of this distinct culture. Today, their civilization is still influencing the world from new facts and information arising from these ancient sites about how they built there towns, trade networks, and the structure of their social and economic power for each site. Most Mayan sites were structured by royalty rule and run as a hierarchy where the elite dictated to the commoners how to build in terms of architecture and urban planning, trade, and the social and economic power they held. However, not much has been known about the commoners in these Ancient Mayan Civilizations …show more content…
Cerén is also referred as the Pompeii of the Americas, by anthropologists and archaeologists, since like Pompeii the civilization’s inhabitance there ended after the Loma Caldera eruption around the mid to late-7th century A.D. After the volcanic eruption the volcanic ash that covered Cerén is what preserved the site in great detail. The tephra, or volcanic ash, “was moist and fine-grained to preserve the structures, activity areas, artifacts and cultivated the landscape” (Sheets et. Al. 2015: 343). Eruption of the Loma Caldera Volcano was sudden that the villagers left the village while in the middle of their daily lives. They were still making food, painting pottery and constructing the Sacbe as shown “with the finger swipes of food still left in pottery serving bowls from their literal last supper” (Sheets 2006: 16). Mayan commoners stopping in the middle of daily activities is what else makes Cerén so unique. Food left in ceramics and some ceramics still being painted and the tephra preserved this as if taking an image or a photograph that you can touch the environment. Although, Cerén is a well preserved site and even declared a UNESCO World Heritage site as of 1993, the village did suffer damage from the volcanic eruption before it was covered in tephra. Sheets states, “the village of Cerén at 10 to more than a 100 …show more content…
The evidence of this trade is based off of the fact that in the common Mayan households all held “obsidian in the form of prismatic blades, macro blades and scrapers, jade axes, polychrome ceramics, seashells, presumably salt, and hematite pigment cylinders” (Sheets 2000:219) that have not been as widely accessible to Mayan commoners throughout Mayan sites in Mesoamerica. Jade is both quite rare and culturally significant because it suggests “long-distance procurement, vertical exchanges, ostentatious displays of prestige and power, and consumption patterns of polities far from [a source like Cerén in] Motagua Valley” (Marroquin 2009: 22). Every household in Cerén had things like these jade axes and highly stylized polychrome ceramics, which proves that the commoners had access to elite held and rare resources through trade because the highly technical skills and resources required to make them. This is both evidence for a horizontal and possible vertical economy at Cerén which the commoners received these items through a center in which the elites had indirect contact with or from other households that received these items through trade. The way they would have received them would have been through the marketplace. Compared to other Mayan sites, Cerén would not have been a large trading center in the

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