Ancient Americans From A to Z

Ancient Americans From A to Z

Release Date: May 16-22 20-1 (98) Especially for and their families e I By BETIY DEBNAM from 1he Mini Page by Betty Debnam C 1998 Universal P...

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Release Date: May 16-22

20-1 (98)








By BETIY DEBNAM from 1he Mini Page by Betty Debnam C 1998 Universal Press Syndicate

Our Neighbors to the South

Ancient Americans From A to Ancient peoples of the Americas had civilizations as advanced as any in the world. These civilizations included the Maya, Aztec, Inca and Olmec. The ancient Americans developed advanced systems of writing, engineering, architecture, art and agriculture. Some of their cities were as large and in many ways more efficient than those in Europe. The Aztecs (about 13251521) lived in what is now Mexico. This warlike people had advanced art, literature, music and scientific knowledge. They built a complicated system of canals connecting parts of their capital, Tenochtitlan (tay-noch-tee-TLAN) with more than 100,000 people. Mexico City is now on that site. Beautiful art is typical of American cultures. The Olmec were great sculptors. The Maya drew huge murals, or paintings covenng entire walls. The Inca were masters Th 01 I ted tho 10 e mecsscup IS ld t d a go an ton stone head about 3 000 silver work. years ago. '

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The Calendar Stone is a famous sculpture with the Aztec sun god Tonatiuh in the center.

Drums and dance were important in festivals and religious ceremonies. Emperor Montezuma II, the Aztec ruler, welcomed Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes with rich gifts. He thought Cortes might be a god. Montezuma was imprisoned by the Spanish and later killed while fighting for freedom. Feathers of colorful tropical birds were of great value. They were used to make headdresses and cloaks. Gold and the promise of wealth attracted Europeans to the Americas. Diseases and li harsh treatment by the ! conquerors brought f the great American § empires to an end. Gold ' and silver works of art I were a specialty of the Bird-shaped Inca. They called gold gold ritual vessel ~ the sweat of the sun, and silver the tears of the moon. The Spanish destroyed most of the Incan artworkby meI' . down £or t he bng It precious metal.

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Human sacrifice was practiced by the Olmecs, Maya, Aztecs and Inca to gain favor with the gods. The Inca (about 1350-1519) lived along the western coast of South America. They were outstanding at building roads, bridges, irrigation systems and stone buildings. They were also great weavers, goldsmiths, farmers, astronomers and pottery-makers. The Inca were skilled warriors who conquered and absorbed many other tribes. They set up common standards of law for everyone. Jade was made into fine sculptures and masks by the Olmecs. They traveled as many as 500 miles seeking this green gemstone. The Maya valued jade for jewelry, art and to fill their teeth! Keroswere decorated drinking cups made by people of the Andes, including the Inca. Some were made of wood, others of silver lined with turquoise.

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20-2 (98) Release Date: May 16-22

Mysteries of Ancient America Sudden disappearance One of the greatest mysteries is the disappearance of the Maya. From about 250 A.D., they had a thriving civilization with advanced cities. Then, suddenly, their civilization vanished. Some Maya are still living in Central America, but their ancient cities lie in ruins. By 900 A.D. they had abandoned many of their cities, even though it appears that they were right in the middle of expanding them. We do not know why this happened. Plagues, war or drought might have caused the Maya to leave. It is a mystery that has puzzled people for many years.

Huge heads

Giant pictures

The Olmecs sculpted huge stone statues using only primitive stone tools. Their most famous statues are heads weighing as much as 20 tons each. In order to make these statues, the Olmecs had to move tons of volcanic rock 60 to 80 miles from a mountain quarry to the statue site. They had to do this without wheeled vehicles or pack animals. It is a mystery how they moved all this heavy stone so far. They might have needed as many as 1,000 men to do the moving. Another mystery is why they built these gigantic statues. The Olmec left no writing, so we can only guess what the statues meant to them.

The Nazca drew this giant hummingbird on the ground.

The Nazca made huge pictures in the ground that can be seen only from the air. The Nazca people lived before the Incas, from about 300 B.C. to 600 A.D., in what is now Peru. These drawings in the desert show birds and animals native to the Andes Mountains. But the Andes are hundreds of miles from the desert pictures! When the Nazca made these pictures about 1,500 years ago, they would not have been able to view them as a Whole. They had no way of getting up that high. No one knows why the Nazca made pictures they would never be able to see. It's fun to think about why their pictures seem to be only for people flying overhead.

This statue is probably of an Olmec ruler. He is wearing a helmet for protection.


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from The Mini Page by Betty Debnam C 1996 Universal Press Syndicate



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from The Mini Page by Betty Debnam C 1996 Universal Press Syndicate

Mini Spy ...


Mini Spy and her friends are visiting some ancient American ruins. See if you can find: • letter C • • • • • • • • • • • • •

dog teapot letter D heart alligator bowl letter L mushroom key word MINI bell apple letter B


\\0 FIND Words about people in ancient America are hidden in the block below. Some words are hidden backward or diagonally. See if you can find: INCAS, AZTECS, MAYAS, OLMECS, MATH, ADVANCED, ART, PYRAMIDS, GOLD, MURALS, STONE, SCULPTURE, SCULPTOR, GODS, EMPEROR, WEAVERS, JADE. PAR T N ROT P L U C S A S





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20-3 (98)

Release Date: May 16-22

Food of the Maya

The Mini Page Body Parts Book is an informative, attractive guide for kids learning about the body in terms that are easy to read and understand. Body systems, parts and functions are featured, accompanied by many illustrations. To order, send check or money order for $3 plus $1 postage and handling per copy to: Mini Page Body Parts Book, P.O. Box 419242, Kansas City, MO 64141. Make checks payable to Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Go dot to dot and color.

The Maya ate a mostly vegetarian diet. The main food was ~ maize, or com. Many " dishes, including tamales \ and tortillas, were made from it. Kidney beans were the main source of protein. Other foods included sweet 'c potatoes, squash, chili peppers, tomatoes, pumpkins and ~ avocados. Cacao beans, used to make cocoa, were also used ~E as a form of money. g Many Mayan families kept animals for food eaten only on special occasions. These included turkeys, ducks, dogs and deer. Hives of stingless bees were kept for honey.

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Corn was an important food for the ancient Americans. It could be dried and stored easily or made into breads. Corn was not raised in Europe. While European explorers were searching for gold, they discovered an even greater treasure ... corn!


Arts of the Inca Arts and crafts were important to the Inca. Almost everyone in their society did some kind of craftwork. One of the most important crafts was making cloth. Most of the cloth was made from wool. It was spun and dyed. Some was even tie-dyed. Most of the dyes came from plants or insects. The Inca were also known for their clay pottery. It was painted, carved or stamped with different shapes or animal designs. The most beautiful pottery was used by the rich or for special ceremonies. Pottery for everyday use was more plain-looking. They also made jewelry and objects from stones, gold and silver.




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Games of the Aztecs

The Mini Page

Rookie Cookie Cookbook recipes designed especially for kids! • snacks • soups • salads • sandwiches • breads • beverages


I) Step-by-step directions 2) Measuring tips 3) Utensil guide 4) Cooking terms S) How to set a table 6) Table manners guide

• casseroles • main dishes • microwave dishes • desserts

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There were two main games played by the Aztecs, patolli and ulama. Patolli was played on a board and was like our game of backgammon. Dried beans and stones of different colors were used as game pieces. Ulama was a type of ball game similar to basketball. Only the upper class were allowed to play. The game was played on a court using a hard rubber ball. Players wore helmets, gloves, knee pads and hip protectors, and A statue of a man playing ulama. tried to hit the ball through a ring. They could use only their hips and knees; hands and feet were not allowed. People would place bets on who would win the game. The losing players were sometimes killed!

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20-4 (98)

Release Date: May 16-22 from The Mini Page by Betty Debnam C 1998 Universal Press Syndicate

Ancient Americans Here is more about the ancient civilizations of the Americas.

Llamas were so

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in the Andes and around lakes in Mexico. People living on the coasts ate many kinds of seafood. Next week The Mini Page celebrates the Year of the Ocean.

site of Mayan ruins deep in the jungle. The ruins include a rare rounded pyramid.


~ potatoes were native to the Andes t Mountains. This pyramid at Chichen Itza (chuh-chenuhsaw) probably served as a temple and an elaborate Mayan calendar. On the first day of spring and fall, the sunlight makes a picture of a snake going down the steps.

Pyramids were built as part of worship ceremonies by many American peoples, including the Maya, Inca and "" Aztecs. Worshippers climbed steps to ~ temples built on top of the pyramids. l They often used pyramids as burial chambers. a These huge pyramids, some larger than those in Egypt, were built without ! wheels, metal tools or animals to pull the i heavy stones. Thousands of undiscovered I pyramids may still be hidden in the t jungles.


Nets were important fishing tools

Uxmal, Mexico, is the

j chocolate ~Vanilla, (from cacao beans) and


As in many Inca cities, houses in Machu Picchu were made of stones fitted closely together. These buildings could survive earthquakes.

were very skilled. They used the jaws of big ants to hold wounds closed. They knew how to sterilize wounds and give blood transfusions. The Toltecs (TOLE-teks) (about - 900-1200 A.D.) lived in what is now Mexico. They built giant . statues of warriors on top of ~ pyramids. ~

The Olmecs (about 1200 to 300 B.C.) lived in what is now Central America. They were skillful farmers who invented their own calendars, numbers and writing. These amazing sculptors carved huge stone statues. They were strong influences on later cultures such as the Maya.

important to the Inca that they often made gold or silver llama sculptures. They ate llamas and wove their wool into cloth. Llamas also served as pack animals. The Maya (MYuhs) (about 2501000 A.D.) lived in what is now Central America. They were excellent ' - - - - - - - - ' artists, architects, farmers, potters, mathematicians and astronomers. They had very advanced picture writing. Their cities were abandoned suddenly, and no one knows what wiped out such a great civilization. Machu Picchu, a city high in the Andes Mountains, was hidden for almost 400 years. The Inca hid there to escape the invading Spanish.

Surgeons of the Inca

Quetzalcoatl (KETsal-kwat-ul) was a feathered snake god worshipped by many American peoples including the Toltecs, Maya and Aztecs.

Rubber was used by the Olmecs to make balls for games much like soccer and football. Olmec (( )) means "people from the rubber country." •

Weaving with colorful fibers was an art in the Maya, Aztec and Inca cultures. Mayan women embroidered beautiful pictures on their clothing. Xochiquetzal was a goddess whose name meant "Precious Flower."

The Yucatan area of present Mexico is the home of one of the Maya's greatest cities, Chichen Itza.

Zero, a very difficult mathematical idea, was known to the Maya hundreds of years before Europeans understood it. Look through your neWSpaper for stories about Mexico, Central and South America.

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., 20-5 (98)

Release Date: May 16-22

Learn about ancient Americans



«> 1998 Universal Press SyndIcate


Teacher's Guide

For use by teachers and parents at home and at school. For use with issue: Ancient Americans From A to Z



iht~IAiAi .:.ftJ::~ 0 1",_, _~9cm

by Betty Debnam

Appearing in your newspaper on _ _ __ from The Mini Page by Betty Debnam o 1998 Universal Press Syndicate

(Note to Editor: Above is camera-ready, one columnby-4%-inch ad promoting Issue 20.)

Main idea: This issue is about ancient Americans. The following is a list of activities to be used with this issue. They are listed in order of difficulty, with the easier pre-reader assignments listed first. Most of the activities are for younger readers. Ask the children to do the following: 1. Draw a picture of a scene the illustrates some aspect of the lives of ancient Americans. 2. Pretend you could go back to the time of ancient Americans. What five questions would you ask someone about what life is like? 3. Rubber was used by the Olmecs. See how many things you can find in your classroom made of rubber. 4. Discuss the following: What do you think it would have been like to live in the time of the ancient Americans? What would you like the most, and least, about it? Which of the products that the ancient Americans used do you use today? (For example, vanilla.) 5. Find Mexico, Central and South America on a map. 6. Find the following words in this issue: sculptures, ancient, influences, ceremonies, surgeons, sacrifice, abandoned, conquerors, goddess, turquoise. Define and make up a new sentence for each one.

(Note to Editor: Above is the Teacher's Guide for Issue 20.)


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Q: What did one tonsil say to the other? A: "Better dress up - the doctor is taking us out tonight!" Q: What has four wheels and flies? A: A garbage truck! (sent in by Sherry Hahn)

g from The Mini Page by Betty Debnam 0 1998 Universal Press Syndicate

(Note to Editor: Above is copy block for Page 3, Issue 20, to be used in place of ad if desired.)

Please include all of the appropriate registered trademark symbols and copyright lines in any publication of The Mini Page®.