// -->
Click on shape for identification, on site for name & Emblem Glyph
Toggle Layer
Bodies of water

Toggle Sites
Major sites
Late-Terminal Classic

Locate a Site

Emblem Glyph

Digital Resources for the Study of the Ancient Maya, v.1.8

Map of the Ancient Maya Realm

The Maya were but one of the many prehispanic cultures of Mesoamerica. Indeed, the Maya area itself was (and is) composed of many languages and dialects of the Maya language family, and so it is unlikely the ancient residents regarded themselves as part of a single ethnicty. This regionalism is reflected in numerous localized styles of architecture, pottery, and art, among others. Certainly the political landscape was fragmented among many small realms, although at times certain cities, such as Tikal, Calakmul, and Mayapan, achieved wider regional domination. The Maya region was, however, never dominated by a single center.

The topography of the Maya realm varies greatly. To the north, the Yucatan peninsula is a low-elevation shelf of moderate relief, largely composed of limestone. To the south are the geologically more complex highlands of Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. With but a few exceptions, such as Copan, this area was culturally distinct from the lowlands to the north and was a lesser participant in the florescence of the Late-Terminal Classic period.