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ARCH 100 - March 28, 2011.docx

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Simon Fraser University
ARCH 100
Ross Jamieson

Rumble in the Jungle: Tropical Forests and the Collapse of Urban Societies The Romance of Lost Civilizations - Common western 19 century mythology o Western explorer stumbling thorugh jungle comes upon ruins, discovers civilization nobody remembers - Henri Mouhot at Angkor Wat in 1850s; he did not claim he discovered it, but that became the mythology The “Discovery” of Angkor Wat - Angkor described in detail by an ambassador from China in 13 century, who published extensive descriptions of it in China at that time th - Portuguese missionaries of 16 century visited and described it in detail - French missionaries who spoke with Houdor had already described it extensively in correspondence - Mouhot popularized the place in European minds through publishing on it, with illustrations – played on the romance of the place The Maya: Stephens and Catherwood - John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood - Stephens was American diplomat, 1830’s, Belize/ Guatemala - Catherwood was British artist - travelled throughout Mayan region, sketching, painting, and writing about “mysterious lost cities” The Romance of the Abandoned th - In 19 century this idea of tropics as a place of loss and ruin, very romantic - Where did the people go? - Why did they not remain urbanized? - Makes great media splash whenever anybody “solves” these “riddles” The Maya Region - Northern Central America - Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador - Half a million square kilometers - Caracol is one, mid-size, centre of many Mayan city-states The Maya - AD 250-900 Classic Period - Fifty or more independent states, =huge land area of forest and plains - Milions of people (maybe 5 million?, but NEVER under single state rule The Environment - Highly varied from volcanic mountain ranges to dense tropical rain forest, to dry forest plains of the Vocaan The Maya - Millions of indigenous Maya people live today in the region - speak one of 25 Mayan languages - Carry on many cultural traditions from before Spanish arrival Classic Period - Beings with earliest hieroglyphics stele of Mayan writing - AD 199 is earliest example so far - Ends with abandonment of ceremonial centres at many sites around AD 900, the Maya collapse Classic Period Mayan architecture - Temple pyramids and palaces - Limestone masonry, vaulted rooms - Sophisticated wall paintings and relief carving Human Sacrifice - Prisoners, salves, orphans - Ritual bloodletting by elites, lineage rites - City-state rivalries - The ball game Mayan crops - Maize, beans, squash, chilies - Cacao (chocolate) – elite drink, currency - Cotton, textiles - Dog, turkey, stingless bee Mayan knowledge - Vigesimal (base 20) mathematical, knowledge of zerio - Calendrics - Writing system Mayan writing - Almost all of glyphs now understood - Dynastic history, astronomy/astrology Numbers - Concept of zero (shell) o one = dot o five = bar Mayan calendar - Predicting events in ruler’s lives - Guide to agricultural ceremonies - Form of prediction and prophecy Tzolkin vs Haab (2 different calendric systems) - 260 Day ritual calendar vs. 365 solar calendar - Combines 20 day names with 13 numbers to create 260 unique days vs. Mayan solar calendar made up of 18 months of 20 days (total 300) - Haab: Then 5 unnamed days: Wayeh, 5 dark days, followed by “New Fire” - The combination of the two systems only repeats every 52 years Long Count - count of days since first day (usually correlated to Aug, 11, 3114 BC by modern scholars - This date is when the current world was created, by gods placing stones, sky rose up, revealing the sun Today’s date - Thursday November 25, 2010 in Longcount is - Baktun.katuri.tun.uinat.kin - 52 year Calndear round: 1 Kumk’u 7 Kimi ( 1 “granary” 7 “death) The end of the world (As we know it) - Ends (December 20, 2012) Followed by the sta
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