"A tribe of natives in Guatemala who still observe the ancient Mayan religious customs, is all that remains today of a civilization which extends back over a period of 2,500 years," said Professor A. M. Tozzer '00, in an interview with the CRIMSON yesterday on the history of the Mexican Indian Civilizations.
Preserve Ancient Forms
"These people can no longer be called cvilized, but they do preserve certain relics of the old culture by still going through the outward manifestations of its religion. For instance they slit their ears with stone knives, worship idols, and burn incense in censers which are exactly the same as those unearthed in the ruins of the Ancient Mayan cities.
Priests Suppressed Religion
"The Spanish priests, after the conquest of the country in the sixteenth century, did all they could to stamp out the old religion and in a large measure succeeded. Down through the entire Yucatan the old cults have ceased to exist, but in the brush of Guatemala a few traces of them have survived the Eurobeen encroachments of the last four centuries.
Survivors Are Slaves' Descendants
"Apparently the people who live there are descendants of the large slave class which was employed in erecting the architectural monuments of the Mayas.
"Our knowledge of the civilizations which preceeded the Spanish advent in the new world is based on the inscriptions which we find on these monuments. We know very little about the details of the Mayan culture, because we cannot read the phonetics in hieroglyphics which have been left us.
Numerals Are Legible
"We can, however, understand the numerals on their monuments, and have thus been able to establish an accurate chronology of the last 25 centuries.
"The earliest dated inscription is on a small jade statuette of 96 B.C. The great cities of Northern Guatemala flourished from the beginning of the Christian era until about 650 A.D.
"In the first half of the seventh century the southern cities were abandoned and a movement made northward.
Toltecs Make Invasion
"The most interesting period began about 1200, when foreigners entered the country. These were the Toltecs from Mexico under the leadership of Guetzalcoatl.
"The Toltecs had in their early days been strongly influenced by the early Maya culture in Guatemala. The great expansion of the Toltec Empire included practically all of the non-Maya peoples of Central and Southern Mexico, and as far south as Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
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