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Extra resources for Ancient Maya

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A merchant Jade might trek across the countryside to a foreign Jade has been nicknamed Maya gold, a fitting description considering how highly the Maya valued this semiprecious stone. Jade’s importance went beyond its physical beauty or its status as a treasure. Jade jewelry was the finery of choice for the maize god; the green of the jade symbolized the green growth of young cornstalks. Maya kings believed that like the maize god, they would battle and win against death and be reborn. They wore jade jewelry in preparation for this day.

3 Reservoirs helped to sustain the Maya cities during the dry season, between October and May. the Maya lined the area with stone slabs. They through this canal into a reservoir in the middle of the city. To prevent the water from draining away, covered the stone with black clay they collected from nearby wetlands, forming a waterproof coating. The people then extended a wall around the reservoir so it could hold even more water. 2 Cities were often built around cenotes. indd 32 10/23/14 10:32 AM CHAPTER 3 CITY-STATES W hen archaeologists write about the Maya and their cities, they are writing about a group of people who shared a common culture.

FARMING The different people of the Maya civilization had specific jobs to do. Maya kings busied themselves with rituals, politics, and economics. Scribes wrote about science, art, and important events in the kings’ lives. Nobles advised the kings. Craftsmen used fine materials, such as obsidian, to create a variety of tools. Everyday people built their own objects from more common materials. indd 36 10/23/14 10:32 AM The milpa system of farming is still used by farmers in the modern Yucatán. When Spanish settlers arrived in the Maya lands in the 1500s, they observed Maya farmers using a slash-and-burn system of farming.

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