Saturday, 9 March 2013

Mayan Ruins

Altun Ha in Belize by Oscar

Today we went to Altun Ha to learn some more about the Mayans. It was different to Copan ruins in Honduras because there were no sculptures or carved rocks. I climbed up a temple and it was really steep. I was scared and nervous especially when I climbed down. Some archaeologists found a head a head carved out of jade.
Special types of ants live in the thorns of a tree. If a human or animal touches the plant the ants will come out and attack him.

Tikal in Guatemala by Lex

Today we went to another Mayan ruin in Guatamala. The Mayan civilisation started in 600 BC but the city was abandoned by 900 AD. It was rebound by archaeologists about 100 years later. At Tikal there are about 3000 structures made out of limestone. That's a lot of stone! The ruins at Tikal are part of a huge reserve. It's mostly rainforest with animals such as monkeys, parrots, wild pigs, raccoons, and jaguars.
Archaeologists think up to 100,000 people lived in Tikal. Bizarrely there were no rivers near the city so the Mayans had to make reservoirs. They dug holes then lined the sides with clay so the rainwater didn't drain out.
The 26th ruler was called ' Jasaw Chan Kawill' meaning 'ruler of chocolate' he was the only ruler to be buried under his own temple so he was pretty special. His temple was 70 m tall, around 18 storeys. We were able to go into the royalties bedrooms. They were still standing. They used to be painted red from crushed berries. I would hate to be royal because the rooms were so tiny and the beds were made of stone.
In the Grand Plaza there was a pyramid where the astronomers calculated when the solstices would happen. On the 21st March if you stood in the middle of the pyramid and look east the sun would rise exactly above the temple. There was also a huge face in the rock in the plaza but not many other sculptures.
The ball court in Tikal was smaller than the one at Copan.

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