The Mayas developed over an area of 400,000 km2 (154,441 mile2) and their civilization was made up of ethnological groups that spoke various languages (cakchiquel, chontal, tzeltal, quiché, etc.), all of which descended from an original tongue that was used in the third millennium B.C. The origins of this culture go back to 550 B.C. when certain unmistakable Mayan traits can be recognized. Since that time, and until the Spaniards’ arrival, we can follow a historical trajectory that converted the Mayan civilization into Mesoamerica’s most refined.
Furthermore, this culture did not disappear with the arrival of the Europeans. In fact, in many ways the Mayas’ customs (food, music, dress, housing, languages, etc.) have endured to this day.
This book attests to that. On one hand, the images document Mayan architecture, pottery, painting and sculpture from all angles and, on the other, the text collects all the information related to their scientific knowledge, religion, social organization and geographical milieu. It comes as absolutely no surprise that one of their most emblematic cities, Chichén Itzá, is now considered one of the seven new wonders of the world.