Beyond ''Apocalypto'': What Maya Empire Looked Like

Beyond Apocalypto -- What Maya Empire Looked Like
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In the central market of the great Maya city of Tikal in what is now Guatemala, shiny cacao beans might have bought armadillo carcasses, cured skins, pottery, masks, and woven baskets.

Also on offer were specialty items brought from long distances—obsidian blades, dried fish, medicinal herbs, quetzal feathers, jade, and stingray spines used in ritual bloodletting.

The Maya Empire built much of its power from the trading centers of bustling cities like Tikal, whose heyday was in the Maya Classic period (A.D. 250 to 900).

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Illustration by Peter Spier
 
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