The Maya civilization was a mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya people. It is known for its hieroglyphic script as well as its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system.
The earliest Maya settlements date to around 1800 B.C., or the beginning of what is called the Preclassic or Formative Period.
During this Period of Maya civilization (A.D. 250 to 900), the Mayans built great stone cities and monuments that have fascinated explorers and scholars of the region.
Much like other civilizations of the ancient world, the Mayans depended on their social classes to keep order and structure within their society.
Maya Social Structure. Maya society was rigidly divided between nobles, commoners, serfs, and slaves. The noble class was complex and specialized. Noble status and the occupation in which a noble served were passed on through elite family lineages.
Pok-a-Tok was a ball game played by the ancient Mayans over 1000 years ago. There’s evidence that the Toltecs and Aztecs played variations of the game, as there are stadiums (for lack of a better term) dotted throughout Mexico.
You play by hitting a five pound rubber ball with any part of your body, excluding your hands and feet. You pass the ball between the teams and you try to shoot into the hoop, which is about 3cm all round bigger than the ball. Therefore it is very difficult to get the ball into the hoop.
The Mayan Ball Game was a solemn experience, filled with ritual importance. Religious leaders attended, as did most chieftains and other government leaders. Sacred songs were sung and played. Other religious activities took place as well.
The game was like games and sports that people play today in a few ways:
The players were working as a team to beat another team of players
The goal was to get the ball through a hoop
The goal was also NOT to touch the ball with one's hands, like soccer is today.
Huge structures were built just for playing
The games attracted very large numbers of people to watch
Gambling on who would win was common