Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review: Ancient Maya

Ancient Maya by Anita Ganeri, Compass Point Book, Minneapolis, MN, 2005.
This again is a children’s book, with lots of illustrations.  In fact the best part of the book is the illustrations.  The Maya people had their peak about 1700 years ago, and continued to exist until 500 years ago.  Their land was taken over by the Spanish, but their civilization had disappeared for the most part before this.  They had temples and pyramids, and made sacrifices to the gods, including human sacrifice.  They played an interesting game where they had to put a ball through a ring.  Because the ball was heavy, they wore pads for protection.  The Maya had developed a language, and still a few samples of their writing remain.  They had an agrarian society, but also had craftsmen and tradesmen.  One thing I didn’t know: “The Maya sometimes filed their front teeth down into point and other patterns.  The filled the gaps in their teeth with small pieces of jade.”  Sounds like a rough and stupid way to go—but this would have been the wealthy who had access to jade. 

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