Tikal, located in the north of the Petén region of Guatemala, was a major Maya city which flourished between 300 and 850 CE. The city, known to the Maya themselves as Mutul, is one of the grandest in Mesoamerica. Amongst the first...
K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo
Yax K'uk' Mo' (pronounced `Yash Kook Mo') was the founder and first king of the dynasty that ruled the Maya city of Copan (in modern day Honduras) for 350 years. Known formally by his royal name, K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo', he reigned for eleven...
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
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...
Yaxchilan, located on the banks of the Usumacinta River in the Yucatán peninsula of Mexico, was an important Late Classic Maya centre. The Maya dated the founding of their city to 320 CE, but Yaxchilan flourished between c. 580 and...
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 Tikal Glyph
The Maya glyph for Tikal. From a stela in the Archaeological Museum of Tikal.
North Acropolis, Tikal
The North Acropolis of Tikal, Guatemala. The Maya city flourished between 300 and 850 CE but the acropolis was first built c. 250 BCE with many additions being made to it over the centuries. A total of 12 temples were built and used to bury...
Tikal Main Plaza
The central plaza of Tikal, Guatemala. The Maya city flourished between 300 and 850 CE. On the left is the North Acropolis whilst on the right is Temple I, the tomb of Jasaw Chan K'awiil (r. 682-734 CE).
Maya religious beliefs are formed on the notion that virtually everything in the world contains k'uh, or sacredness. K'uh and k'uhul, similar terms which are used to explain the spirituality of all inanimate and animate things, describe the...