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Maya Culture History: The Thermometer Theory

The Thermometer Theory delineates three spatial-temporal dvisions of the Mayan World. Maya Culture progressed spatially from the bottom to the top (south to north) of the Mayan Zone. The Thermometer theory illustrates a relationship among the various Maya regions and demonstrates how the social, cultural, economic and technical foundations for the great Classic and Postclassic cities of the Yucatan were first laid in the Southern Maya Zone.

Southern Highlands, Bocacosta and Pacific Coast

The Maya World has three spatial-temporal divisions.

Spatially, the first division consists of the Southern Highlands, Bocacosta and Pacific Coast.

Temporally, this division is
the Seminal Southern Preclassic period.

Some great Preclassic
Period Maya cities include Kaminaljuyu, T'akalik Ab'aj,
El Baul, Bilbao, Chalchuapa, El Porton, El Jobo, El Sitio.

Chocolá is located geographically and historically in the heart
of this seminal Maya zone.


Central Lowlands

The second division consists of the Central Lowlands.

Temporally, this division is
the Classic Period characterized by the "Superstates" of the Maya World.

Some great Classic Period cities include Tikal, Calakmul, Copan, Palenque, Piedras Negras, Yaxchilan, Dos Pilas, Naranjo, Caracol, Motul de San Jose, Altar de Sacrificios, Rio Azul (there are many).


Northern Lowlands

The third division consists of the Northern Lowlands.

Temporally, this division is known as the Postclassic period.

Some great Postclassic cities include Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Mayapan, Izamal, Kabah, Sayil, Edzna, Coba (Classic Period also), Dzibilchaltun, Komchen (Preclassic also).


What happened in
the southern area
to launch the
Classic Maya?

The arrows in the map to the right indicate early hieroglyphic sites in the Southern Maya Zone.

The Thermometer Theory shows that the mystery of the (Classic) Maya is not so mysterious.

The foundations are currently being uncovered in the Southern zone in hitherto overlooked sites like Chocolá.



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