The Maya thrived in Central America thousands of years ago. Anthropologists and archaeologists thought Maya culture originated in the northern reaches of what is now Guatemala about 600 BCE, and migrated north to the Yucatan Peninsula of present-day Mexico beginning around 700 CE.

Throughout the film Quest for the Lost Maya, a team of anthropologists discovers the Maya may have been in the Yucatan as far back as 500 BCE. This new evidence indicates the Maya had a very complex social structure, distinctive religious practices, and unique technological innovations that made civilization possible in the harsh jungle of the Yucatan.

This segment of Quest for the Lost Maya explores the so-called collapse of Mayan civilization. Despite popular belief, the Maya remain an important part of the human geography of the Yucatan.

  1. Did the Maya disappear? Explain.

  2. What are some of the challenges Maya peoples have had to overcome?

ancient
Adjective

very old.

anthropologist
Noun

person who studies cultures and characteristics of communities and civilizations.

archaeologist
Noun

person who studies artifacts and lifestyles of ancient cultures.

Noun

complex way of life that developed as humans began to develop urban settlements.

culture
Noun

learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

evidence
Noun

data that can be measured, observed, examined, and analyzed to support a conclusion.

human geography
Noun

the study of the way human communities and systems interact with their environment.

jungle
Noun

tropical ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.

Maya
Noun

people and culture native to southeastern Mexico and Central America.

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