The Mayan Mysteries

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While the intricate details of the Mayan apocalypse are still open for debate, more and more is being uncovered about their eventual downfall. Despite being a technologically advanced people, the Mayans could not control the weather entirely and many people believe it is natural forces that caused their decline.

Throughout their reign, the Mayans were hit by two severe droughts that both lasted for decades at a time. Archaeologists suggest that it was due to this that the civilization eventually came to a standstill, with widespread destruction brought about as a result. As well as being one of the most advanced civilizations in terms of technology, the Mayans were also paving the way for written communication at the time.

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New discoveries of hieroglyphs have suggested that the civilization could write in complex ways years before previous evidence had suggested. While the ciphers are yet to be translated, they point to a complex communication method never seen before up until that point. One wall of the structure, thought to be a house, is covered with tiny, millimetre-thick, red and black glyphs unlike any seen before at other Mayan sites.

Some appear to represent the various calendrical cycles charted by the Mayans - the day ceremonial calendar, the day solar calendar, the day cycle of the planet Venus and the day cycle of Mars. Although they all involve common multiples of key calendrical and astronomical cycles, the exact significance of these particular spans of time is not known. Archaeologist William Saturno, of Boston University in the United States who led the exploration and excavation, said: They seem to be using it like a blackboard. Anthony Aveni, professor of astronomy and anthropology at Colgate University, said: Archaeologist William Saturno of Boston University carefully uncovers art and writings left by the Maya some 1, years ago.

Incriptions on Mayan tablets found in temples such as Tortuguero refer to 'the end' - and many internet conspiracy theories have predicted our world will be swallowed by a black hole, hit by an asteroid or devoured by ancient gods. But many ethnic Mayans dismiss the apocalyptic predictions as largely a Western idea. Rather than the end of time itself, the inscriptions refer to the start of a new era.

The 'apocalypse' refers to the end of a cycle of 5, years since the beginning of the Mayan Long Count calendar in B. The paintings represent the first Maya art to be found on the walls of a house. The walls reveal the oldest known astronomical tables from the Maya. Scientists already knew they must have been keeping such records at that time, but until now the oldest known examples dated from about years later.

The Mystery of the Lost Ancient Culture of the Maya

Astronomical records were key to the Mayan calendar, which has gotten some attention recently because of doomsday warnings that it predicts the end of the world this December. Experts say it makes no such prediction. The new finding provides a bit of backup: The calculations include a time span longer than 6, years that could extend well beyond Aveni, along with William Saturno of Boston University and others, report the discovery in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

The room, a bit bigger than 6-feet square, is part of a large complex of Mayan ruins in the rain forest at Xultun in northeastern Guatemala. The walls also contain portraits of a seated king and some other figures, but it's clear those have no connection to the astronomical writings, the scientists said.

One wall contains a calendar based on phases of the moon, covering about 13 years. The researchers said they think it might have been used to keep track of which deity was overseeing the moon at particular times. Aveni said it would allow scribes to predict the appearance of a full moon years in advance, for example.

Such record-keeping was key to Mayan astrology and rituals, and maybe would be used to advise the king on when to go to war or how good this year's crops would be, he said. On an adjacent wall are numbers indicating four time spans from roughly to 6, years. It's not clear what they represent, but maybe the scribes were doing calculations that combined observations from important astronomical events like the movements of Mars, Venus and the moon, the researchers said.

Why bother to do that? Experts unconnected with the discovery said it was a significant advance. The new work gives insight into that, he said, and the fact the room had a stone roof rather than thatching supports previous indications that the scribes enjoyed a high social standing. Scientists from Harvard University mapped more of the site in the s.

The house discovered by Prof Saturno's team was numbered 54 of 56 structures counted and mapped at that time.

The Mystery of the Lost Ancient Culture of the Maya | Ancient Origins

Thousands at Xultzn remain uncounted. The team's excavations reveal that monumental construction at Xultzn began in the first centuries B. For this reason, they believe the losers were sacrificed. If it was an honor to win the game only to be sacrificed they must have believed it was for a valid reason and this would encourage future team members to compete harder. What if the ballgames were not for entertainment purpose but were instead used to determine who will enter the afterlife? Was this part of their beliefs of entering the next life with royalty and honor? The depiction on walls of the players wearing their headdresses and royal jewelry should indicate they were of high rank on both sides.

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Even if the losers were sacrificed, why would they risk their lives to please the gods or for the sake of entertainment? It seems they would want to hold their positions by sacrificing someone of less importance as the ancient Roman gladiators did. The stone circle mounted to this wall was used for an ancient Maya ballgame called poc-ta-poc which must have been an important part of their everyday lives. Researchers speculate that the ballgame is related to a story of twin brothers known as the hero twins.

They were resurrected after their sacrifice to the gods of the underworld. What if the resurrection is actually reincarnation in a more advanced society with its players being considered gods because of their rank and greater level of skills? As in most parts of the ancient world, the Maya built their temples and monuments overtop previous sites. It was believed they rebuilt every fifty-two years, which coincided with the long count calendar; but others speculate these projects were initiated by new rulers for political reasons.

This follows the same idea Egyptologists believe in relation to new Pharaohs taking control of Egypt. It is thought at times they would destroy any evidence of previous rulers out of spite or an attempt to cover-up previous records, as in the case of Hatshepsut. Is this idea inaccurate in the Maya kingdom? Many pyramids and temples show signs of having a few ancient sites below what is seen today.

Why would they purposely build on the same exact location unless it was for a significant purpose? It seems beneficial to put their resources and energy into additions on the previous structures rather than build on top of them. Much time and effort was put into the accuracy and alignment of these temples and pyramids to celestial bodies and events. Or do they exists in a key location for the alignment of certain star systems during certain times of the Maya calendar year?

Maybe the rebuilding of these monuments was for the purpose of calibration to properly adjust their alignment to certain star systems? Part 2 — The decline of an advanced civilization. El Castillo, evidence a dazzling ancient city that once centered the Maya empire in Central America. Taryn Salinas [Online] http: Carr is an author and independent researcher. He has researched in the fields of lost ancient world science and theory in modern science for the past two decades.

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He has had several articles published on subjects such as What if the ball games were just for fun and had absolutely nothing to do with sacrifice? That seems more likely, who would take up a sport where the loser or winner gets sacrificed. It's a good question but there is actually extensive evidence that sacrifice occurred after the game.

It is depicted in detailed carvings around some of the ball courts that have been found.

Mayan Mysteries: 5 Strange Facts About The Lost Civilization

Sacrifice is such a strange thing. In the biblical old testament texts sacrifices are used frequently, and as far as I can tell, for two primary purposes: OT sacrifices are usually animals rather than people, but even so, wtf? The premise that the architect and creator of the universe requires a life to be ritually ended in return for effecting a change is weird.

Even in the instances where "God" approaches the human and says he wants something done, the human has to make a sacrifice before the plan can happen. Why should that be? There do seem to be rules underlying the whole sacrifice thing, but I don't understand them. And the system appears to have gone dormant or stopped working at some point in the past 2 millenia, possibly resulting in the abrupt and devastating collapses of civilizations and empires around the globe.

One of the most interesting accounts of sacrifice in the biblical OT takes place after the flood, when the Ark has grounded on the mountain. Noah and his family "build an altar of unhewn stone" and make a sacrifice upon it, then set the resultant mess on fire. It says the smoke of the burning sacrifice was "heady" or somehow alluring to God and he follows it to Noah's position. God likes the smell of burning flesh? The bit about unhewn stone is interesting as well. Why is that important? I recall that Solomon was instructed not to hew the stone which would be used to build the first temple in Jerusalem as well