Engineering of the Maya Empire

Archeologists and Historians have come to a consensus that excavation into the rich history of the Maya Empire, and the astounding details of how they managed to grace the face of the earth with such great magnificence using rudimentary tools, is just beginning. The documentary The Maya: Engineering an Empire is about the Maya empire that existed thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The essay is a summary of how the Maya people emerged, their conquests, their architectural splendor, and the fall of such a great empire.

The ancient Maya implicitly and evidently had supernatural powers. The fact that they lived on one of the most inhumane conditions dispels any doubts that the Maya people were real masters of their environment. The inexplicable civilization furiously reached the peak of its glory, ruling over 125 thousand square miles territory. The Maya empire traversed most parts of present-day Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Yucatan peninsula,  and Honduras. But how exactly did this modest hunter-gatherer community end up flourishing in magnificent cities built within a rainforest? When did they come from and where did they vanish?

The civilization of the Maya empire is attributed to two primary factors: a reliable source of human labor, and dynasties of god-like kings. From around 250 BC to 900 AD, the Maya people engineered astounding sky-scraper pyramids, sophisticated hydraulic systems, ornate palaces,  accurate calendars, hieroglyphics, mathematics, and magnificent temples to support their populations and most importantly to appease their gods. The dumbfounding fact is that they never had any metal or even the wheel. The urbanization by the Maya during the classical era can be attributed to nothing less than their thirst for religion. Living in cities enabled them to practice religion in a central place.

For several years, archaeologists believed that the ancient Maya were peacefully segregated into about forty cities with each city having its dynasty of rulers. There must have been communication and trade among the towns, and there seems to be no clear evidence of external aggression for land, power or property. However, recent hieroglyphics have painted a whole new picture on the canvas of Maya’s intriguing chronicles. There glaring evidence of human sacrifice and brutal battles as fundamental aspects of life among the Maya people.

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Their accomplishments were not the result of an overnight explosion or miracle. They had mighty rulers, fiercely competing for each other in war and architecture. To the people, the kings were like gods. They led wars, conquests, and construction. The Maya people always owed the gods a blood debt, and as such, human life and blood were among the most precious gifts, they could offer to appease their deities. They attacked their neighbors to offer them as sacrifices to their gods.

The modern civil engineering(ecampus ingegneria civile) based research suggest that the Maya Empire was not one isolated kingdom but rather a series of rival kingdoms, with none comfortably dominating the others. Tikal is one of the most prominent cities that dominated the area around the third century BC. But as a proof of the stiff competition in the region, Tikal’s prominence never lasted. Calakmul overtook Tikal by 600 century BC. Yikin Chan Kawil built a center of military success that swept Calakmul off her balance of success. He constructed the Temple of the Giant Jaguar, an icon of prestige that has stood the test of time.

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The Maya empire had one of the fascinating discoveries. They discovered water pressure, mathematics, architecture, centralized society organization, and mathematics. They developed the concept of zero, determined equinoxes, and produced accurate calendars. They mastered their environment and the art of war. However, the only enemy they could not fight against was disease and malnutrition.  However, in his concluding remarks, Peter Weller of Syracuse University asserts that significant details of the real allure of the Maya are still buried underground.

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