Mesoamerican Civilizations

By Maddi Roy

Maya Civilization

The Mayans were from Central America. For farming, the Mayans used a technique called slash and burn. Slash and burn is where they would set the grass fields on fire, and then use that same soil for the farming. The fires would make the soil more fertile. The Mayans also invented some interesting things. For example, they invented a whole mathematics system based off of the number 20. They also created a very accurate calendar with 365 days. Lastly, they developed hieroglyphic style writing. All of these inventions led to things we have now, and were very important in their culture. One tradition of the Mayans was baby-squeezing. Since a sloped forehead was a sign of nobility, ranking Mayan families would press their baby's forehead against two wooden boards. This would actually deform the skull, shaping into any desired form. Another tradition was crossed eyes. Moms would stick a pendent between your eyes. This would cause a permanent crossed eyes.

Aztec Civilization

The Aztecs were grouped into three classes- the nobles, the intermediate class, an the commoners. For farming, the Aztecs constructed chinampas, on the lake. The chinampas were raised garden beds that they created. The Aztecs grew corn, squash, chili peppers, and chocolate! They also invented books, called codices, and two calendars; one for religion and one for agriculture. These calendars were important to them because religion was a big part in their lives. One tradition in the Aztec life was human sacrifice. Children were sacrificed to maize gods. other children were actually drowned as a sacrifice of Tlaloc, the rain god. The impersonators were cleansed and worshiped for as long as a year before being sacrificed to the deity they represented.

Inca Civilization

The Incas were from South America. For farming, the Incas used a different technique, called steppe farming, which was farming inside the mountains. They raised llamas, and they were the first civilization to harvest potatoes. The Incas created a record keeping system, and made many medical advances. They were the first civilization to conduct brain surgery. They were very good at building roads, and making things out of gold. Building roads was very good for them because it helped spread the civilization. One tradition of the Incas is body art and jewelry. It was very popular, for men especially. Initiation into manhood included piercing the boy's ears and a gold disk was placed in their ear.