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TONY CRADDOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TONY CRADDOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mayan temple at night. This is El Castillo (the castle), part of the Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico. This structure stands at 22 metres high. The construction of this pyramid was planned so that during the spring equinox (around 21 March), the setting sun casts a shadow of a snake writhing down the pyramid's steps. The Maya were 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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