Interesting Facts About Mayans

Interesting Facts About Mayans

We know about their calendars. We know about their pyramids. We even know about their intricate cities. Despite this knowledge, we don’t necessarily know everything about this culture. Here are some of the interesting facts about the Mayans that you may not have known.

1. Self Dentistry.

The Mayans were very concerned about personal appearance. Many of the upper classes would alter the forms of their children to conform to beauty standards. Some of those standards continued onto adulthood, including the filing of their teeth to create points. They’d also drill holes into their teeth to insert precious jewels.

2. Medical Geniuses.

Some modern medical techniques were developed in the Mayan Empire. They would sew wounds closed with human hair. They would also set fractures. There are even skulls that show holes where the shaman would reduce cranial pressure. Although today we would consider such actions primitive, the fact that they developed them on their own is impressive. They even had painkillers available.

3. One Goal.

It was a deadly game that the Mayans played and it may have had some religious significance. The goal was to get a ball through a stone hoop about 25 feet off of the ground. Just about any contact was allowed and the ball, which was made out of rubber, weighed about 8 pounds. If someone was killed on the playing field, it just meant a substitute had to come in to play. One goal won the game, bringing a new definition to the term “sudden death.”

4. Child Sacrifice.

Until the last Mayan civilization toppled in 1697, a key component of the empire was child sacrifice. It was believed that the innocent souls of the children, offered up to their deities, could bring prosperity to their world. There were also medical and religious reasons for additional sacrifices.

The Mayans may be known for their long count calendar and the 2012 apocalypse beliefs, but there were many more components of their culture that influence today’s societies. As one of the greatest empires in the New World, they grasp of the written language and personal care were more developed in some ways than those who came and conquered from Europe. That’s why their culture is still extensively studied today.