Remains of a Thriving Civilization

Remains of a Thriving Civilization

Video. This segment discusses an ancient Mayan city called Xocnacah [Shoke-nuh-kay]. It was a massive city with a central platform structure that rose 30 ft high and held thousands of people in an area the size of 4 football fields!


6 - 12+


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

The Maya are an ancient people, whose civilization thrived in Central America thousands of years ago. Scholars have thought for more than 100 years that Maya culture originated in the northern reaches of what is now Guatemala around 600 BCE, migrating north to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico beginning around 700 CE. Throughout the film Quest for the Lost Maya, a team of anthropologists finds evidence that the Maya have been in the Yucatan more than a thousand years longer than believed.

This segment of Quest for the Lost Maya discusses Xocnacah [SHOHK-nuh-kay], a massive, ancient Mayan city. The construction of the city's center plaza would have required enormous human effort, including the work of architects, mathematicians, engineers, masons, and accountants, overseen by kings and their appointed leaders. Such a labor force suggests that a very well-organized, highly sophisticated Mayan civilization inhabited the Yucatan as early as 600 BCE.

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

September 27, 2022

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