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Of all the world's ancient civilisations there are few more famous than the Maya and Aztec empires which developed across Mexico and Central America, within the area known as Mesoamerica.

Maya empire

The Maya empire covered a huge area, stretching across the Mexican states of Chiapas, the Yucatán and Quintana Roo right down through Guatemala and Belize to Honduras. The Maya were highly intelligent, possessing great knowledge of astronomy, and were capable of advanced mathematical and calendrical calculations.

Aztec empire

The Aztec culture had a rich and complicated set of mythological and religious beliefs. One of these beliefs, which they dedicated to their gods, was human sacrifice. The cities themselves were dominated by giant stone pyramids topped by temples, many of which survive to this day.

These ancient civilisations had certain traits in common: they both had a form of writing, a calendar, a ball game, both built grand temples and had advanced agricultural methods. They were also distinct from each other in many respects and visiting their remains today makes for fascinating experience, not only to learn about the history, but also their unique settings.

Top 10 ancient civilisations of Central America & Mexico

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