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By Sue Bradford Edwards

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Through recent finds, archaeologists know that beyond the central plazas, the smaller plazas often lay some distance apart, surrounded by individual homes and gardens. Each of these smaller plazas was built on a small platform of limestone rock, boulders, and debris. In the center of these platforms stood houses that faced the small residential plaza. indd 38 10/23/14 10:32 AM Raised stone platforms supported Maya buildings. a cistern that collected and stored water. Eventually archaeologists realized these platforms and plazas had been built on elevated areas with poor soil.

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. The Maya spoke the same or similar languages, worshiped in the same way, and believed in the same religion. However, they did not identify themselves as a single group of people or live in one kingdom. No single king ever ruled all of the Maya lands. Maya art often depicts the kings of individual city-states.

The most readily available information concerns the lives of the Maya elite. Surviving murals have taught archaeologists a great deal about the activity of kings and nobles. Artwork has provided a great deal of information about Maya life. indd 41 10/23/14 10:33 AM Life in the Market Maya art and writing often tell the history of kings or the movements of celestial bodies, but the murals at Calakmul tell about life in the marketplace. 1 These murals depict the bustle of the Maya marketplace. The king lived a life of privilege, but he had many responsibilities organizing the lives of his people.

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Ancient Maya by Sue Bradford Edwards

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