Modern Day Maya

Modern Day Maya

This segment blends the faces of modern day Maya in the Yucatan with recreation actors in ancient Maya costumes, and teaches a final lesson about Mayan "collapse." The Maya are still in the Yucatan. It's just that their existence has changed.


5 - 12+


Anthropology, Biology, Earth Science, Geography, Human Geography, Physical Geography, Social Studies, World History

The Maya thrived in Central America thousands of years ago. Anthropologists and archaeologists thought Maya culture originated in the northern reaches of what is now Guatemala about 600 B.C.E., and migrated north to the Yucatan Peninsula of present-day Mexico beginning around 700 C.E.

Throughout the film Quest for the Lost Maya, a team of anthropologists discovers the Maya may have been in the Yucatan as far back as 500 B.C.E. This new evidence indicates the Maya had a very complex social structure, distinctive religious practices, and unique technological innovations that made civilization possible in the harsh jungle of the Yucatan.

This segment of Quest for the Lost Maya explores the so-called collapse of Maya civilization. Despite popular belief, the Maya remain an important part of the human geography of the Yucatan.

Media Credits

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Hannah Herrero
National Geographic Society
Anne Haywood, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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