All of the images on this page may be freely copied and used as long as all copies used retain the watermark, “www.mayanoriginals.com” in the lower right corner.
Generally speaking, the Maya were a lowland people, inhabiting the Atlantic coast plains of southern Mexico and northern Central America. The southern part of this region is abundantly watered by a network of streams, many of which have their rise in the Cordillera, while the northern part, comprising the peninsula of Yucatan, is entirely lacking in water courses and, were it not for natural wells called cenotes, would be uninhabitable. This condition in the north is due to the geologic formation of the peninsula, a vast plain underlain by limestone through which water quickly percolates to subterranean channels.
The inscription lately discovered in Chichen Itza by Edward H. Thompson, United States Consul at Merida, is of more than passing interest. It contains an Initial Series of glyphs, which, so far as I know, gives the only initial date that has been found in the northern part of Yucatan.
Although it may be a matter of doubt on what date the long count declared by the Initial Series began, yet, if we assume that the majority of the initial dates refer to the time when the buildings or stelæ on which the dates occur were erected (and this assumption seems altogether probable), we can at least decide on the relative age of the ruined cities in which the buildings or stelæ are found.