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Mayas: Videos


The Mayans The most advanced of the pre-Hispanic peoples of Central America, the Mayans rose to great prominence, only to suddenly decline around the year AD 900. In this program, cultural historian Iain Grain delves into Mayan history, investigating topics such as the Mayans’ mastery of mathematics, their extremely hierarchical society, their use of human sacrifice to induce rain, and Mayan art. Many examples of Mayan architecture are provided as well, plus a computer re-creation of the temple at Chichén Itzá. 

  2. Mayans: Pre-Hispanic Nomads02:39
  3. Religious Monuments of Copan04:46
  4. Mayan Architecture at Uxmal05:37
  5. Daily Mayan Life03:37
  6. Weddings, Jewelry, and Holy Men04:35
  7. Astronomy and Mathematics02:36
  8. Origins of the Universe02:11
  9. Decline of the Old Mayan Empire01:03
  10. Mayan Renaissance and Chichén Itzá06:46
  11. Spanish Conquest02:17
  12. Rediscovery of the Mayan Civilization03:44
  13. Mayans Today02:43

*Popol Vuh: Invitation to World Literature   The Mayan book of creation, the dawn of life, and the glories of gods and kings. This magnificent epic was saved from destruction at the hands of the Spanish by Quiché chroniclers. Once repressed, the story is now interwoven with the history of today's Mayan people.


  1. First Impressions01:02
  2. Sacred Book of the Maya01:37
  3. The Maya02:05
  4. Experiments in Creation03:15
  5. A Story Survives02:43
  6. Seven Macaw02:51
  7. Birth of the Hero Twins01:48
  8. Xibalba: The Underworld02:35
  9. Corn People01:02
  10. Brought to Light01:40
  11. Presenting Popol Vuh01:27
  12. The Modern Maya01:14
  13. 2500 Years of Learning00:58
  14. Credits: Popol Vuh: Invitation to World Literature00:41

*Last Days of the Maya  Sixteen skeletons—what is left of a 9th-century Mayan royal family—are discovered in the ancient city of Cancuén. Can their remains tell us anything about the collapse of the Mayan Empire? Did disease, starvation, or drought bring about that calamity? A crack team of experts from Guatemala’s Forensic Anthropology Foundation uses its experience with wartime atrocities to investigate. While environmental causes can’t be ruled out, the film presents another hypothesis: that the Cancuén skeletons are the result of rivalries and other harsh realities inherent in dynastic expansion. To be specific, a need for more palaces, pyramids, and temples could have gradually drained the empire’s human and material resources. A National Geographic Production. 



  1. Ancient Mystery02:35
  2. Maya Murder Motive02:22
  3. Ancient Maya World02:41
  4. Cancuén King02:59
  5. End of the Maya World02:53
  6. Ancient Bones Reveal Clues03:34
  7. Evidence of Maya Nobility03:05
  8. Ancient Murder Weapon03:31
  9. Inspection of Ancient Bones02:49
  10. Bizarre Burial of Kan Maax02:32
  11. Deciphering Ancient Glyphs in Guatemala03:03
  12. Assassination of a Maya King02:26
  13. What Triggered the Maya Collapse?02:39
  14. Collapse of the Maya World02:07
  15. Polygamy and Rivalry in Royal Family04:47
  16. Understanding the Maya Collapse02:19
  17. Fall of the Maya02:17
  18. Credits: Last Days of the Maya00:18