The third release in Numiscollect’s interesting ‘Lost Civilisations’ series has debuted, and after Phoenicia, and Babylon, we’ve leap-frogged the Atlantic Ocean to land in South/Central America, for a look at the ancient Mayan culture. To say that Mayan civilisation was long-lived is a bit of an understatement, having roots that were set down earlier than 2,000 BCE.
By 750 BCE, cities, with large stone structures, had been established, and their culture spread northwards into modern-day Mexico, and further south into lower Central America. They were known for their science, especially in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, and architecture, as well as their art. They also liked to war amongst themselves, and were relatively easy pickings for colonial Spain in the early 1500s.
The reverse face of the coin depicts a scene of everyday urban life in the city of Tikal (Northern Guatemala), with the instantly recognisable stepped pyramids in the background, known in our popular mythos as the location for the Mayan predilection for human sacrifice. Citizens are seen building, leather processing, and generally going about their everyday lives. It’s an unusual view of a subject like this, and all the better for it, in my view, breathing life into the ruins we know today.