The Museum of Mayan Culture

The Maya culture is based on a large territory that includes parts of five countries: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The states in Mexico that are included are Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche and Tabasco and part of Chiapas.

While today the holiest cities are abandoned, with the time that has passed, history was changed by the presence of another culture that came from overseas. Today the ancient wisdom of the Maya survive in the daily lives of the people, in their rites and beliefs, in agricultural practices, and in a vigorous language spoken by two million people.

Time Codex
Population and chronology

The oldest dated site known to be a Maya area corresponds to an open meadow located in the highlands of Guatemala, Los Tapiales. The chronology of occupation is dated by radiocarbon nearly 11 thousand years old.

The Mammon is a ceramic style that was a medium from the formative period, and it seems common across the Maya area. From evidence generated from this common heritage, along the Maya lowland, in sites such as Cuello, Nohmul, and Becan, it appears that the area evolved as an agricultural society since early times.

The permanent exhibition of museum
is divided into eight sections

1. The People of Mayab

This area notes the historical location, describes the habitat, the settlement process, physical type and language of the inhabitants of the Mayab.

Maya sculpture shows tall characters rather than low, strongly built ones, with a significant relative length of the arms to the height, broad shoulders, muscular chest and well developed legs.

The face is usually broad, with slanted eyes and an aquiline nose, a feature that is further reinforced with a brachycephalic skull with tabular oblique deformation. The skin color ranges from dark brown to tan, with brown eyes, black straight hair and body hair with small features in the face. Studies to identify the existence of about 24 languages are still alive in the Mayab. Included in this groupis the Huasteco, spoken in northern Veracruz. All have been categorized into ten groups that can be reduced to three main divisions: the Yucatec Maya, the Ch’olan and Tzeltalan and finally Mamean and Quichean branches.

2. Between the Mountains and the Sea

In this area there are trails, videos, models and illustrations that describe the relationship of man with nature, as well as techology and other cultural results of this relationship.

The valleys situated in the heart of the Peten and the Lacandon jungle mark an important transition between the highlands and the great plain that forms the peninsula of Yucatan.

Among the most prized things found here include kapok, mahogany, cedar, rubber, Ramon, sapodilla, some palm trees and guano and corozo. Moreover, this environment, with such things of nutritional value is also conducive to the lives of various species, among which are deer, wild boar, jaguar, tapir, howler monkeys, snakes and lizards, birds. And of great value are the plumage of toucans and macaws, to name the most important.

3. The Place of Thrones and Seats of Honor

This area is dedicated to architecture and Mayan cities. It illustrates the ceremonial architecture and urban structure of the Mayan cities.

The settlements are real cities, set with the methodological assumptions of being the political, administrative, religious and economic center of the adjacent region.

Here with such archaeological characteristics we have palaces, temples and sanctuaries where the separate or joined rituals exist administered from the general urban distribution point.

The preferred materials used were wood and stone cemented with lime, where environmental conditions created platforms of compacted soil. There were buildings of brick walls where stucco coatings and decorations were made with lime mortar. Roofs generally had an overhanging vault. These buildings and spaces had residential, administrative and communication areas, as in the case of the SACB.

Daily Life

The house was the basic unit of settlement. The situation was due to factors determined by the proximity to resources such as water and arable land, and topographic features of the area. They were usually rectangular, some perhaps with elongated ends. They may range in size from 20 to 25 m. The supporting structure was built of resistant wood, choosing trees in terms of their use within the structure. The walls (wattle) were built with sticks tied with vine, often covered by a layer of mud; the roofs were made with guano or corozo. This system was complemented by a kitchen garden, which reflects a diligent observation of plants and their uses as spices and medicines.

4. The Men of the Corn

Refers to economic activities that characterized the Maya production process, such as: agriculture, hunting, fishing, harvesting and other forms of trade.

The ancient Maya practiced agriculture known as a tomb, slash and burn, which allowed long fallow rotation crop areas. Alternatively, they used artificial terraces and raised fields.

Hunting and gathering, complementing and enriching the diet, plus get great economic resources. Of the animals seized the meat, other parts of the body of the dam were used for the development of tools and ornamental objects, specifically carved bones and horns, tendons, skins and feathers. In the collection, use ramon seed plays an important role in the dietary supplement. The fishery products were used mainly for food consumption, although some species such as snails and shells were ornamental, also observed its use in certain rituals and offerings.

Precious Objects

Highlands allowed access to a variety of materials for the manufacture of grinding stones, mortars for making dyes and pigments, e.g. obsidian, which were manufactured with projectile points, knives, jadeite, that was high in terms of prestige goods, being used in the production of masks, beads and pendants, the pyrite, which were manufactured with mirrors for serpentine and greenstone axes and chisels, in addition, pine, quetzal feathers and other perishable items.

Lowlands allowed the appropriation of various resources such as timber species used in construction, bark for paper making, resin pigments, resin and rubber, in addition, deposits of limestone for the construction of impressive developing cities and lime flint and chert, which were prepared with knives, scrapers, hammers, chisels and projectile points, and also animal products such as hides, claws, teeth and horns from species like jaguars, deer and boar equally, honey and wax obtained of bees.


The search and establishment of commercial networks enabled the ancient Mayan communities cleave a multitude of resources and products from other regions, required for both daily life and for ceremonies.

Has been made to establish three levels of exchange, as commercial activity was a function of regional resources and its strategic value, and conditioned by geographical and political characteristics of each region: trade between neighboring communities was limited by the variety of products, the regional trade products allowed cleave an area broader environmental, where distances regulated the importance of routes and its flow. The long-distance trade made possible the interaction of different environmental zones, whose products, higher quality and variety, including complementary goods and luxury items. The regional and long distance routes remained under the tutelage of the ruling elites.

The True Men

Clearly, the base of the organization stood around Maya household nuclear, extended and patriarchal character.

Mayan society was composed of various social strata ruling family, the nobility, the administrative class, the specialists, workers and peasants. These strata belonged by birth, marriage or because of the high specialization in certain activities of strategic value. However, the evidence points to a very conservative society and low permeability, where social status was rather inherited.

5. Worldview

It is the explanation of the symbolic link established the man with the world. In this perspective presents the mythical origin, the burial customs and the figure axis of the Ceiba (silk-cotton tree), linking the underworld, the human world and the celestial sphere.

Religion in the Mayan culture realizes all that exists. Allows men to become aware of the world around them, their culture and their own place in the universe, gives unity to human groups and legitimate forms of social organization, as well as explain and control the phenomena which affect their whole existence.

The Holy Ceiba

The universe was conceived as a three-tier structure: the underworld, the level of the human world and the celestial sphere. These levels were maintained in its central axis reported by the great sacred Ceiba, the axis mundi, whose roots penetrated into the underworld, its trunk in the middle world, and the cup was opened to the upper world, providing access and passage to the supernatural and souls from one level to another.

Funeral Customs

The complex funeral ritual, suggests some significance beyond everyday life, whose hope shared by all members of the community. The members of the nobility were buried in sacred spaces, together with various objects that would allow them to overcome the vicissitudes of traffic. The other members of the community were buried in the basements of their homes, then transmute it was ruled by a strong correlation between the status they had on the earth and the fate that awaited them inside.

On the death of the ruler, there were times that some servers were sacrificed to accompany him on his journey to the underworld, providing the outfit that allowed him to meet their needs, which supposedly were the same as those in this life.


The scenes of self-sacrifice of the lords and ladies of the nobility are the most common representations and dazzling life of the rulers. In them, men are penis bleed and women spend a rope through her tongue.

Enemies were ripped out nails, culminating in the beheading. Recent research suggests the possibility that the package delivered to the governor, on the occasion of his accession contained stingray spines, obsidian and bone needles, and strips of paper which was made the sacrificial rite.

The vessels were the blood of the tongue, remember, for the decoration of bumps, the trunk of the Ceiba young coated with thorns. For men, penile blood was deposited on a container such as mat weaving (pop), which symbolized royal power.

6. The Wisdom of the Maya

Knowledge that are exposed on the stars, time, numbers and the Mayans developed writing.

The account of the time. The Mayan calendar was vigesimal, but required modifications to the third level, where the amount was equivalent to 20 on the lower, but at 18, resulting in 360; roughly coincided with the solar year. Thus the unit were the days (kin), months or scores (uinals), years of 360 days (tunes), the scores of years (tuns), the 400 years (baktuns), and so upward to reach the piktunes and caalabaktunes.

The Haab consists of 18 months of 20 days (tun), which was added a month of 5 days or uayeb, which completed 365 days of the vague year. The months began with a day zero or settlement, it was believed that exercising their influence periods before arriving, beginning with a 0 pop and culminated with a 4 uayeb.

The Maya arithmetic, which uses base 20 incorporates the knowledge of the zero and positional notation, obtaining a complex computer system. This system made use of point to point units, and bars that were equivalent to five units, the vacuum or zero symbol is a kind of shell.

Glyphic texts are made up of symbols inscribed on cartridges and arranged in horizontal or vertical lines. Each block can contain one or more glyphs, whose normal reading order is from left to right, top to bottom, vertically coupled columns.

7. The Foreigners

Explains the presence of cultural contacts with other peoples, such as: the Teotihuacan, the Maya-Putun and Toltec descent groups.

Maya history recorded contacts with various groups that are culturally alien. Of these, the most important were the Teotihuacan during the Early Classic, the Mayas, who invaded Seibal Putun and descent groups or toltecoide Xuesen Itza and invading the peninsula in the ninth century. The expansion of Maya-Putun merchants in the thirteenth century to settle in Cozumel, and finally, the Hispanic conquerors reached the peninsula at the decline of the sixteenth century.

On the coast of Quintana Roo flourished during the thirteenth century, a group of merchants possibly from Tabasco and Putun Maya descent, the central trade route which was the island of Cozumel. These groups settled in different parts of the island, they established their capital at San Gervasio, marketing, large-scale, new forms of pottery. In several parts of the coast, as in Tulum and Santa Rita, there have been murals in the style of central Mexico.

8. The Decline of the World

The presence and activity of the Spanish museum and close the text begins the validity of the prophecies that foretold the darkness.

The Conquest

In 1511 as a result of a shipwreck, a group of Spanish reached east coast of Yucatan. His only survivors, Jeronimo de Aguilar and Gonzalo Guerrero, assumed antagonistic attitudes: the first was Cortes' interpreter, the second chief advisor of Chetumal ruler.

In 1517, the expedition of Francisco Hern …

Printed from — Maya Museum.