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Exploring ChichÃn ItzÃ



Exploring ChichÃn ItzÃ
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.18

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    glyphs, hypothesis, observatory, writing, aligned, arrival, Cenotes, classic, purpose, competitive, civilization, highly, provided, spiral, design, ancient
     content words:    Chichén Itzá, Yucatan Peninsula, El Castillo, Great Ball Court, El Caracol, Mysterious Writing, Sacred Cenote


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Exploring ChichÃn ItzÃ
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     ChichÃn Itzà is an ancient Mayan city on the Yucatan Peninsula. Archaeologists have discovered that a large community of Mayans lived, farmed, did business, and worshipped there during the classic period of the Mayan civilization. They learned that, around the year 600 AD, ChichÃn Itzà became a very prominent Mayan capital.
 
2     How did they learn all of this? They learned it bit by bit, studying each building in this magnificent, ancient city to see what clues each one had to offer.
 
3     Read on to learn about some of the most interesting buildings in ChichÃn ItzÃ, and you will begin to understand how the ancient Mayans lived, too.
 
4     El Castillo is a pyramid with steps on all four sides. At the top is a temple to the winged serpent god, Quetzalcoatyl. The pyramid is designed so that twice a year on the spring and fall equinox the sun casts a shadow on the corner of the pyramid. The shadow looks like a winged serpent, and as the sun sets, the serpent can be seen slithering down the side of the pyramid.
 
5     The Temple of the Warriors is another Mayan temple at ChichÃn ItzÃ. Like other Mayan buildings there, the Temple of the Warriors included design elements of Toltec origin. The Toltecs were earlier inhabitants of the Yucatan region. It is also a large, stepped pyramid. This one has rows of carved columns, each one representing a brave warrior.

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