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Mayan pyramid

Mayan pyramid

E905/0141

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Credit

MARTIN RIEDL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTIN RIEDL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Pyramid of the Magician, part of the Mayan city of Uxmal in Yucatan, Mexico. This structure stands at 38 metres high. Legend has it that it was built in one night by a powerful magician called Itzamna, who was hatched from an egg by a witch. The structure is orientated so that the stairway on the west (not seen) faces the setting sun at summer solstice (around 21 June). The Maya were a Native American people, originating in Yucatan around 2600 BC. They developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing from the ideas of earlier civilizations. Mayan civilization went into decline in AD 900 and came to a close in AD 1200.

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