Mesoamerican

What Happened to the Maya?

BY FRANK JOSEPH

Director Mel Gibson’s new movie Apacalypto purports to be a fictional story set in the time of the Mayas, though the film’s ending—showing Spanish ships arriving off the Mexican coast—seems to place the tale in the time of the Az­tecs, long after the Mayan civilization had vanished from the scene. And as strange and disturbing as the movie is, the real enigma of the Central American Mayas may be even stranger and more disturbing than fiction could ever convey. The Great Mystery of the Maya…

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Where Atlantis Meets Lemuria

By Frank Joseph

The Mexican civilizations confronted by modern Europeans for the first time in the early 1500s were still Bronze Age-like cultures, unchanged for millennia, and essentially frozen in time since their inception. The sixteenth century Az­tecs were culturally no further advanced than the Olmecs, who preceded them by thirty centuries. Like the Mayas and Toltecs, their societies were less unique than variations on a Mesoamerican theme common to them all. Perhaps the strangest quality of Mesoamerican Civilization was the suddenness of its appearance. For at least…

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