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Palenque
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Palenque

Located in the foothills of the Chiapas altiplano of modern Mexico, Palenque was an important Maya city which flourished between c. 600 and 750 CE. The name Palenque derives from the Spanish, meaning 'fortified place', but the original Maya...
K'inich Janaab' Pakal
Definitionby Joshua J. Mark

K'inich Janaab' Pakal

K'inich Janaab' Pakal (23 March 603 CE - 31 March 683 CE) was the Maya king of Palenque in the modern-day State of Chiapas, Mexico. Also known as Pacal (which means 'shield') and Pacal the Great, he is most famous for raising the city of...
Early Explorers of the Maya Civilization: From Aguilar to Waldek
Articleby Joshua J. Mark

Early Explorers of the Maya Civilization: From Aguilar to Waldek

Although John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood are consistently credited with the `discovery' of the Maya Civilization, there were many who preceded them who sparked their interest in making their famous travels through Mesoamerica...
Maya Government
Definitionby Maria C. Gomez

Maya Government

Ancient Maya government was formed on the basis that rulers were thought to have been god-like, which to some might suggest one unified state. However, the consensus amongst anthropologists supports that each major Maya city remained its...
Early Explorers of the Maya Civilization: John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood
Articleby Joshua J. Mark

Early Explorers of the Maya Civilization: John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood

The names of John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood are forever linked to the Maya and Mayan studies as the two great explorers who documented the ruins from Copan in the south to Chichen Itza in the north. The stories told by Stephens...
Xibalba
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Xibalba

Xibalba (Shee-bal-ba) was the name the K'iche Maya gave to the underworld. For the Yucatec Maya the underworld was known as Metnal. The name Xibalba translates as 'Place of Fright', which indicates the terror the place had in the Maya imagination...
Maya Architecture
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Maya Architecture

Maya architecture is best characterized by the soaring pyramid temples and ornate palaces which were built in all Maya centres across Mesoamerica from El Tajin in the north to Copan in the south. The Maya civilization was formed of independent...
Temple of the Inscriptions, Palenque
Imageby Jan Harenburg

Temple of the Inscriptions, Palenque

The Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque, Mexico. The pyramid was completed c. 682 CE and used as the tomb of the Maya king Kinich Janaab Pacal (r. 615-683 CE).
Popol Vuh
Definitionby Joshua J. Mark

Popol Vuh

The Popol Vuh is the story of creation according to the Quiche Maya of the region known today as Guatemala. Translated as `The Council Book', The Book of the People' or, literally, `The Book of the Mat', the work has been referred to as "The...
The Classic Maya Collapse
Articleby Mark Cartwright

The Classic Maya Collapse

The Mesoamerican Terminal Classic period (c. 800-925) saw one of the most dramatic civilization collapses in history. Within a century or so the flourishing Classic Maya civilization fell into a permanent decline when once-great cities were...