Designating, or pertaining to, an American Indian linguistic stock occupying the Mexican States of Veracruz, Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, and Yucatan, together with a part of Guatemala and a part of Salvador. The Mayan peoples are dark, short, and brachycephallic, and at the time of the discovery had attained a higher grade of culture than any other American people. They cultivated a variety of crops, were expert in the manufacture and dyeing of cotton fabrics, used cacao as a medium of exchange, and were workers of gold, silver, and copper. Their architecture comprised elaborately carved temples and places, and they possessed a superior calendar, and a developed system of hieroglyphic writing, with records said to go back to about 700 a. d.
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