The Maya Civilization

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Maya Civilization, developed by the Maya people, which flourished in central America from around 250 AD in great cities such as Chichen Itza and Uxmal with advances in mathematics, architecture and astronomy. Long before the Spanish Conquest in the 16th Century, major cities had been abandoned for reasons unknown, although there are many theories including overpopulation and changing climate. The hundreds of Maya sites across Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico raise intriguing questions about one of the world’s great pre-industrial civilizations.

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  • Elizabeth Graham 3 episodes
    Professor of Mesoamerican Archaeology at University College London
  • Matthew Restall No other episodes
    Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Latin American History and Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University
  • Benjamin Vis No other episodes
    Eastern ARC Research Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Kent

Reading list

  • Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570
    Inga Clendinnen (Cambridge University Press, 2003) Google Books →
  • Breaking the Maya Code
    Michael D. Coe (Thames & Hudson, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Maya
    Michael D. Coe and Stephen Houston (Thames & Hudson, 2015) Google Books →
  • Maya Christians and Their Churches in Sixteenth-Century Belize
    Elizabeth Graham (University Press of Florida, 2011) Google Books →
  • Maya: Divine Kings of the Rainforest
    Nikolai Grube (H. F. Ullmann Publishing, 2012) Google Books →
  • Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya
    Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube (Thames & Hudson, 2008) Google Books →
  • Maya Art and Architecture
    Mary Ellen Miller and Megan E. O'Neil (Thames & Hudson, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Maya World: Yucatec culture and society, 1550-1850
    Matthew Restall (Stanford University Press, 1997) Google Books →
  • Maya Conquistador
    Matthew Restall (Beacon Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest
    Matthew Restall (Oxford University Press, 2003) Google Books →
  • 2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse
    Matthew Restall and Amara Solari (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Ancient Maya
    Robert J. Sharer and Loa P. Traxler (Stanford University Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • Reading Maya Art: A Hieroglyphic guide to Ancient Maya Painting and Sculpture
    Andrea Stone and Marc Zender (Thames & Hudson, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Fall of the Ancient Maya: Solving the Mystery of the Maya Collapse
    David Webster (Thames & Hudson, 2002) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: b072n5x3

Episode page:

Auto-category: 972 (Central America and Mexico)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, the Maya people of Central America have an extraordinary history with roots two or three thousand years BC.