New Evidence Unearthed for the Origins of the Maya

Civilizations rise and fall, often in dramatic fashion. Their origins, though, are subtler and tend to be overlooked or poorly understood

The classic period of the lowland Maya in Mesoamerica (A.D. 300 to 950) is a popular topic in archaeology, but little is known about the early preclassic era (before 1000 B.C.). Scientists are typically split between two theories on the subject: Either the Maya developed directly from an older“mother culture” known as the Olmec, or they sprang into existence independently.In the case of the Maya, a new paper in Sciencemagazine sheds surprising light on that murky early period.