Maya stelae were worked with stone chisels and probably with wooden mallets. Hammerstones were fashioned from flint and basalt and were used for shaping the softer rocks used to make stelae, while fine detail was completed with smaller chisels.
A stela was a large tall stone slab covered with carvings and writing. The stela was popular during the Classic Maya period when most major cities had stela built in honor of their kings. Stela were often located near altars.
Although much of the Maya life was spent doing hard work, they did enjoy entertainment as well. A lot of their entertainment was centered around religious ceremonies. They played music, danced, and played games such as the Maya ball game.
Descendants of the Maya still live in Central America in modern-day Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and parts of Mexico. The majority of them live in Guatemala, which is home to Tikal National Park, the site of the ruins of the ancient city of Tikal. Roughly 40 percent of Guatemalans are of Mayan descent.
The archway always had nine stone layers , representing the nine layers of the underworld (the place where souls were thought to go after death). The Maya developed the most complex system of writing in the Americas. They used hieroglyphics to represent sounds, words, and ideas.
The materials used for building Mayan structures were normally types of stone found in the area surrounding the city. Most commonly used was limestone. Limestone was plentiful in most of the Mayan settlements. There were usually quarries right outside the city where they would get their blocks for construction.
Mayan Art is characterized by stone sculptures, architecture, ceramics, wood carving, and wall painting which are some of its most celebrated forms. They rendered these works with nothing but stone tools and wooden mallets. Mayan artisans were also skilled makers of pottery.
Two thousand years ago, the ancient Maya developed one of the most advanced civilizations in the Americas. They developed a written language of hieroglyphs and invented the mathematical concept of zero. With their expertise in astronomy and mathematics, the Maya developed a complex and accurate calendar system.
However, even Mayan commoners filed their teeth and tattooed their skin. Both Mayan men and women got tattoos , although men put off tattoos until they were married. Mayan tattoos depicted symbols of the gods, power animals and spiritual symbols to express harmony and balance or the power of night or day.
The Maya had a system of serfdom and slavery . However, unwanted orphan children became slaves and were sometimes sacrificed during religious rituals. Slaves were usually sacrificed when their owners died so that they could continue in their service after death.
Early on in the civilization metal was hard to find so the Mayans made jewelry form bone, jaguar teeth, claws, stone, and feathers. With the discovery of more metals they would eventually incorporate bronze, gold and silver. The precious stone jade was also used in jewelry .