Mexico: Mayan Ruins
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Lesson: Mayan Ruins in the Yucatán

Setting the scene:

      Dad finishes teaching computer courses for the week and the family takes a trip to the Yucatán peninsula. They see several sites, including the best one at Palenque, which is in Chiapas province.

People in This Story:
  • Dad; Juan (park official); Mel; Mom; Wes
  • Brand Name or Company Name item is in green.
  • Slang terms are linked to the Slang Dictionary. Click on the term to view its meaning.
  • "Speed Talk" is in pink; meaning is in [brackets].

    Story:

    Wes:       Look at Dad. He reminds me of Indiana Jones while he stands near the palace.

    Mel:       And how! He's having a blast in all these ruins.

    Dad:       Do any of you want to go inside the pyramid with me? A ruler once was buried inside. We have time before going to Edzna.

    Mom:       Everybody, be careful in this humid climate. It can be debilitating.

    Wes:       I agree. This heat is making me feel dead tired.

    Mel:       I'm starting to feel all in, too.

    [They finish examining ruins at Palenque and continue the trip to Uxmal. They also meet a park official named Juan.]

    Juan:       Notice the unique rounded shape of this structure, which we call Pyramid of the Magician. It is located not far from the ball court.

    Wes:       Why did most Mayan cities have ball courts? Did they enjoy playing sports as we do today?

    Juan:       Not exactly. Often they were part of a religious ceremony. Sometimes the losers or winners were sacrificed.

    Wes:       Bummer! Better not to be a participant.

    Mom:       Did the Mayans also build Chichén-Itzá?

    Juan:       Yes, but some authorities believe the Toltec people later conquered the city and built the Temple of Warriors.

    Dad:       I recall that the Toltecs originally came from Tula.

    Juan:       You are correct.

    Mel:       What about the big stone heads at La Venta? Who carved them?

    Juan:       Olmec people made those over 1,000 years before the Mayans.

    [The family travels to the ancient pyramids at Teotihuacan in central Mexico. Click here to see the following story: Teotihuacan Pyramids.]

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