Jungle Lowlands - Cultural Landscapes

Detail of a Maya cylinder vase

Detail of a Maya cylinder vase depicting a man holding what appears to be a dish filled with tamales. Guatemala, A.D. 700-850. G83.1.141

Thousands of years of development of the early Mesoamerican communities led to the growth of large and powerful polities. Neighbouring cultures were linked through extensive networks of commerce and politics to places as far away as those occupied by some of the cultures of South America. Since the first settlement of the region by small nomadic bands many thousands of years ago, Mesoamerica has been home to many regional and interregional cultures, with deep historical and religious roots.

These links will take you on a journey. You will be introduced to the political landscape that dominated the lives of every ancient Maya. The shared religious beliefs of the millions of Maya people were woven into the very fabric of the political system. Beliefs that played a central role in the very way they understood the world, known as their worldview.