The Maya, Aztecs, and Mesoamerica

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Maya to Aztec: Ancient Mesoamerica Revealed
Uncover the fascinating rise and fall of the Maya and Aztec civilizations-spectacular empires with complex cultures that ruled vast stretches of pre-Columbian America. In this comprehensive course taught by the Director of the Maya Exploration Center, you'll witness the enthralling history of these sophisticated societies as you explore their religions,…
Tulum - Aztecs at the Ancient Maya Port City
Archaeologists call the last phase of pre-Columbian culture before the arrival of the Spanish the Late Post-Classic period. Get a snapshot of this waning era by visiting the ruins of Tulum, a Maya seaport that hints at a final Aztec incursion into the region.
How the Aztecs Expanded Their Empire
By the time of European contact, the Aztec empire was the most extensive in Mesoamerican history. Study the Aztecs' methodical approach to conquest and the structure of their empire, which was more like Alexander the Great's than imperial Rome's.
From the Aztecs to Future Archaeology
Finally, travel to the site of Tenochtitlan, buried under modern Mexico City, and to Teotihuacan, with its vast pyramids and temples along the Avenue of the Dead. Conclude the course by considering how future archaeologists may interpret our own culture someday, and reflect on archaeology's contributions to our collective knowledge…
First Contact with Europe in Mesoamerica
Review the events that brought an improbable expedition led by Christopher Columbus to the New World in search of Japan. Trace Columbus's later contact with Mesoamerica, and follow the arrival of Spanish conquistadors, including Vasco Nunez de Balboa and Hernan Cortes.
Aztec Origins - Arrival and Rise of the Mexica
How did a vagabond group of wanderers become the most powerful civilization in North America? Survey the history of the Aztecs, looking behind their idealized self-image to discover their likely beginnings and the secret of their political, economic, and military success.
The Aztec Capital of Tenochtitlan
See the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan through the eyes of a visitor during the height of Aztec power, when the city's quality of life was unrivaled virtually anywhere in the world. Modern Mexico City, which is built atop Tenochtitlan, preserves isolated ruins of this grandeur.
Life in the Aztec World
Drawing on contemporary accounts by Spanish soldiers, priests, and literate Aztecs, enter the daily life of a typical Aztec, discovering the culture's social organization, marriage customs, public festivals, and shockingly commonplace rituals of human sacrifice.
Illuminating Works of Aztec Art
Tour some of the masterpieces of Aztec art, including the Calendar Stone and Stone of Tizoc, which were likely platforms for human sacrifices. Then behold the terrifying Statue of Coatlicue, and pore over the Codex Mendoza, which is a beautifully illustrated history of the Aztec nation.
Early Highland Maya - Izapa to Kaminaljuyu
Trace the origin of Maya civilization to a dramatic change in the nature of public monuments. Dr. Barnhart takes you to early Maya highland cities such as Izapa, with its amazing religious carvings, and Kaminaljuyu, which heralded the dawn of the Classic Maya period.
Preclassic Maya Lowlands - El Mirador
Travel to the Peten rainforest in northern Guatemala, where hundreds of Maya settlements lie hidden, including some of the oldest Maya cities ever built. Among the spectacular sites, hear about the discovery and excavation of El Mirador, called the "cradle of Maya civilization."
How the Maya Mastered Mathematics
Study the power of Maya mathematics, which was a positional, base-twenty system that lent itself easily to calculation and the expression of very large numbers. Learn about its use of the zero placeholder, and test your skills solving problems the way the Maya did.