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True or False: The Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world in 2012.

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Despite what you may have heard in 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar was never meant to signal the apocalypse. It simply meant that a new astrological age was beginning.

Mayan cities weren’t planned very carefully. The expanded naturally… except for a few important buildings that were placed with extreme care. These were...

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The only buildings that were planned in advance in Mayan cities were their pyramids, palaces, and ceremonial ball-courts.

Which of these was the name of one group of Mayan people?

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It was the Olmec who were responsible for creating the now famous Mayan Calendar, as well as popularizing the Mayan creation myths.

Which of these was NOT a Mayan beauty practice?

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To be beautiful in Mayan culture was the result of incredibly hard work. They had a set of seemingly impossible beauty standards, some of which required serious body modification.

Which form of sanitation was extremely common in Mayan civilization?

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Mayans were among the first cultures to use saunas. Saunas were used by Mayans for healing purposes, and were hated by the Spanish Conquistadors who were against any form of sanitation at the time.
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True or False: The Mayans are believed to have written over 10,000 books.

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It's thought that Mayans had collectively written over 10,000 books.

What happened to all those ancient Mayan books?

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After the Spanish Conquistadors successful campaign against the Mayans, the majority of their books were destroyed.

The largest Mayan city was called...

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The Mayan city of Tikal was the largest of any Mayan city, spanning over 124 square kilometres. Like many other great Mayan cities, it was abandoned during the second Mayan collapse.

True or False: The last Mayan emperor was named Montezuma.

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False! Montezuma was the last emperor of the Aztecs, another civilization that existed in pre-Columbian South America.

Which of these materials was NOT used by the Mayans for crafting jewelry?

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The Mayans commonly used Jade and Gold as materials for their jewelery... and weren't opposed to using human teeth as well. The one option they didn't use? Human hair.
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Our system of mathematics uses 10 as a base number. What number did the Mayans use?

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Although they are better known for their astronomy, the Mayans also made impressive strides in the world of abstract math. Their vigesimal math system is a base 20 system (vs our base 10). It helped them to create architectural wonders, manage their economy, and craft their famous calendar.

When did the Mayans believe that the Earth was created?

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Mayans believed that the Earth was created in 3114 BC. This specific date coincides with the beginning Mayan Calendar.

Mayan men were often tattooed, but they would wait to get their ink until after what life event?

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Mayans practiced tattooing, among other forms of body modification. Both Mayan men and women would get tattoos, but men would often wait until after they were married. After the formal ceremony, they would tattoo their arms, legs, backs and faces.

True or False: Many Mayans would file their teeth into sharp points.

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Mayans believed teeth to be an important part of a beautiful appearance. Just… not the same way we do. Aside from encrusting their teeth with gems, many also sharpened them to a point. Sometimes teeth were filed to specific designs to designate higher classes of individuals.

The Mayans believed that a person automatically went to Heaven if they…

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The Mayan afterlife was no simple affair. When a person died, they didn’t just go to a heaven or a hell—they began a long journey toward paradise, or Tamoanchan. There were a few ways to skip that journey though: dying in childbirth, dying as a sacrifice, or being killed in battle were all seen as intensely honorable
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What was the Mayans preferred method of sacrifice?

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Sacrificing was usually done by cutting just under the ribs and removing the still-beating heart.

True or False: The Mayans believed that celestial bodies like the Moon and the stars were literally gods.

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The Mayans firmly believed that celestial bodies were literally gods. Celestial events were considered to be communication with those gods, and the actions of the society at large were directly tied to the movement of particular stars.

The largest Mayan pyramid ever discovered was called...

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The Pyramid of Cholula.

Which Mayan city is now almost entirely hidden?

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The Mayan city of Mirador was one of the greatest cities ever built in the pre-Columbian Americas. The city was built around a set of 3 Mayan pyramids.

Mayans were among the first people to record their history in books. How did they make the pages for those books?

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Mayans were among the first to record history in books. The books they used were screen-folds, similar to folded up posters you might find in magazines today. The pages for these books were made with the inner bark of wild fig trees.
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What was the name of the Spanish man who burned many priceless Mayan artifacts, in an effort to erase their culture?

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When the Spanish came to Meso-America, the Mayans had already abandoned their great cities in favor of rural societies. They retained, however, their traditional religious beliefs. This didn’t sit well with Spanish thinkers like Bishop Diego de Landa, who set about converting the population to Christianity.

True or False: The Mayans wrote in hieroglyphs.

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True! It took years for researchers to translate their writing.
About This Quiz
The Maya are an indigenous people of Mexico and Central America. They have continuously inhabited the lands comprising modern-day Yucatan, Mexico and southward through Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. The name Maya comes from the ancient Yucatan city of Mayapan, the people's last capital before their civilization's mysterious downfall in the middle of the last millennium. But how much do we know about them beyond that? The Mayans are one of the most fascinating civilizations that have ever appeared on Earth... precisely because so much of their society remains shrouded in mystery and controversy.


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