KS2 Educational Resources
“How does Mayan civilization c. 900 contrast with British History?
Location of the Ancient Maya civilisation, central America.
© Sémhur / Wikimedia Commons
Mayan civilisation straddled Central America, where it lasted for several hundred years, and left behind ruined stone structures, a wealth of artefacts, and the only complete system of writing developed among early peoples of the area. Precise evidence about the Mayan way of life managed to survive the later Spanish conquest, and shows a society partly governed by religious practices, including both human sacrifice and the use of bitter-tasting chocolate as a ritual drink.
The first question "What can a pot tell us about the people who made it?” focuses on a single pot as evidence of the Maya's specific use of the cocoa bean to make a bitter version of what we now know as chocolate.
Under the second question "What can a village buried by a volcano tell us about the Maya?”, pupils look at the unique evidence of food and farming preserved under the volcanic ash of an eruption that buried the village of Ceren (now a World Heritage Site in El Salvador).
Joya de Ceren, El Salvador,where a volcanic eruption round 600 AD/CE left building structures and their contents well preserved. This evocative site is used in one of our lesson plans.
Produced by Mariordo (Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (
Lesson 7: Maya
Lesson 8: Maya
Disclaimer: The downloadable materials are advisory only, and are up-to-date as of December 2018. Teachers are advised to undertake any necessary risk assessments, and take into full consideration any food allergies, intolerances, or safety risks, as well as the emotional impact of any discussions entered into. Most images included are available on Creative Commons licenses, and credit is given where available. Weblinks are included for purposes of general information only; we have no control over the nature, content and availability of sites linked to, and the inclusion of links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them. No liability is accepted for any loss, damages, or distress caused.