PART 1: Answer the following prompt in 300 words.
Over the last two years massive Mayan cities and temples have been found in Central America. What does this tell us about our knowledge of past civilizations and in particular about what we know about the American Civilizations?
PART 2: Respond to TWO CLASSMATES
Classmate 1 (Christopher)
Nakum and recent discoveries around the site from archeological research shows just how limited our knowledge is of Ancient Mayans and many other indigenous people of Central and North America. Due too many different factors. These newly discovered sites add to the puzzle many unanswered questions and help in preserving the historical significant.
New technology has allowed for highly detailed mapping of Mayan sites that once would have took years to map out in dense jungle by land to be done in mere hours. The technology LiDAR uses a laser to map the land by plane and subsequently strip away the trees and undergrowth from the map exposing any structural or man-made terrain modifications. LiDAR would bring about the discovery of Aguada Fenix the largest recorded Mayan structure to date, measuring it at 1,400 meters long and nearly 400 meters wide it becomes clear it was a major undertaking to construct in an area of land of cultivators of maize. It was likely to have been used for large gatherings for rituals and important dates in Mayan culture. This site appears unique as no signs that only elite or ruling class Mayans would have been guests to this site but that it was open to every Mayan regardless of status or class.
The scale of which the Mayan civilization has slowly come to light in recent years and it has surprised many historians and archeologists which has changed the assumptions that we had documented and understood the Ancient Mayan way of life. The laser technology has succeeded at creating more interest in re-examining the area and to discover more Mayan locations that sprawled out far more than ever before thought. Over 60,000 structures, sophisticated irrigation, defenses, trade routes and abandoned cities have been discovered in just the last decade and it is exciting to know that more will be found with years of new data and information to analyze.
Classmate 2 (Jeremy)
Over the last two years, historian’s research uncovered ancient Mayan cities and temple complex’s. Through multiple different research projects, scientists and historians were able to learn more about these unique peoples and gain a better understanding of the world we live in and the history of it’s people.
There has also been new development in the field which allows the scientists to use LiDAR technology, a technology now used for self driving cars and cellphone cameras to understand the depth and the layers of the terrain in a given region. The findings from this new technology revealed that the area was way more densely packed at it’s peak than was originally thought. the new technology also allows for the archeologists to see more concisely the complex systems of irrigation systems in the swamps, and signs of large scale and sophisticated warfare with the revealing of fortresses, walls, and watchtowers. The findings also call into question the first theories about the development of the Mayan people, the belief that the empire gradually grew and expanded from small villages to urban centers. The findings also show some large scale projects such as temples and landmasses.
Also found in these projects is the unique fact that there seems to have been no ruling class in these peoples. leading the historians to believe that the people just banded together instead of being unified under one ruler. Public spaces were also large, suggesting that it wasn’t limited to a privileged few.
These findings show that the Mayan people were a lot more complex, larger, and more unique than originally thought. This just goes to show that we still have a long way to go in order to fully understand what life was like before written history, but we will also never know what it was exactly like for sure. But we can keep discovering new findings about these interesting peoples in order to understand the roots and foundings of the continent we call home.
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