For the Maya, trustworthy food production was so necessary to their wellness that they very closely linked the agricultural cycle come astronomy and also religion. Important rituals and also ceremonies were held in honour of specialised workers; indigenous beekeepers to fishermen, and also maize, the all-important Mesoamerican staple, also had its own god. An farming society, 90% of the Maya population were connected in farming. Management of land and natural resources lugged a an ext dependable harvest and also varied diet, permitting economic growth. This allowed for the growing of Maya society but eventual over-exploitation, an ever-increasing population, and protracted periods of dryness may have been determinants in the can be fried collapse the the Maya civilization.
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The Maize God
One the the most vital Maya deities, perhaps also the many important, was the "Young Maize God". Generally portrayed through a head in the type of an ear the maize, the could appear in Maya mythology together the creator god. Descending to the underworld, the reappeared with the civilization tree i beg your pardon holds the centre of the earth and also fixes the four cardinal directions. The world tree was, indeed, occasionally visualised as a maize plant. One of the surname of the Maya maize god was Yum Caax ("Master that the fields in Harvest") but another, together at Palenque, to be Hun-Nale-Ye ("One Revealed Sprouting"). If any type of further proof were needed of the Maya reverence because that maize, one need only consult the Popol Vuh spiritual text, whereby the ancestors of mankind are explained as being made the maize. Other crucial foodstuffs besides maize had actually their own gods, because that example, Ek Chuah (aka God M) was considered the god that cacao and also so critical was water to plants that the Maya rain god Chac acquired special prominence, specifically in time of drought.
Maya farming Methods
The quality and quantity of farming land roughly Maya urban varied depending upon their location. In the lowlands that the Peten and also Puuk regions, for example, the soil was fairly fertile but minimal to small patches. A technique to rise soil fertility to be the use of raised fields, specifically near water courses and flood plains. In ~ these areas stone-wall terraces were sometimes constructed to collect abundant silt deposits. Forests were cleared to make means for agriculture but together land quickly declined in fertility and necessitated slash-and-burn approaches to rejuvenate the land after 2 years the crops, which then needs on average a further 5-7 year to be prepared for re-planting. A comparable necessity come leave areas to young jim was common in the highland sites, whereby plots had actually to be left empty for as much as 15 years. Come maximise productivity, crops were planted with each other such together beans and squash in areas of maize so that the beans could climb the maize stalks and the squash could aid reduce floor erosion.
Those cities without accessibility to large areas that land perfect for farming could profession with more productive cities. For example, slaves, salt, honey and also precious products such as metals, feathers, and shells were often traded because that plant products. Just just how larger plots that land were distributed, in what way farmland passed on between generations, and also the level that state management in agricultural production stay unclear. That is known, however, that numerous Maya private homes would have cultivated food in little gardens, particularly vegetables and also fruit. When harvested, foods were stored in wooden cradles above ground and also in subterranean sites.
Water monitoring was another necessity, especially in specific Maya cities throughout the dry winters and hot summers. Water was collected in sinkholes developed by fell down caves and known as a tz"onot (corrupted come cenote in Spanish) and also sometimes lugged to areas using canals. Cisterns (chultunob) were additionally excavated, frequently bottle-shaped and also built using large plastered aprons around their gates to maximise the repertoire of rainwater.
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Maya plants & Food
Maize (milpa) was one of the most necessary crops yet so also were root plants such as sweet manioc, beans, squash, amaranth, and also chile peppers. Maize was frequently boiled in water and lime, and eaten together a gruel mixed with chile pepper (saka") for breakfast or made into a dough for baking top top a flat-stone (metate) as tortillas or flat cakes (pekwah) and also as tamales - stuffed and baked in leaves.