Tribal living, clothing and shelter

by Melisa and Sophie


Mayan House
Mayan House

The Mayans lived in houses made out of organic materials so they were perishable. Each family had a family lot with their hut, a well, a chicken coop, a garden, a latrine (bathroom) and a laundry room. The hut was a rectangular room with rounded corners, no windows and a door that faced east. Sometimes there would be another hut used as a chicken coop and a kitchen. In the traditional kitchens, women would cook on a grill set over three rocks. When the hammocks were hung, the main, single-room house was converted into a dormitory. Today, the family homes are called palapas, the Maya word for roof.

Mayan men's clothing
Mayan men's clothing

The Mayan women wore a shirt that was called a huipil. It is normally embroidered around the neck and stitched up on the sides. There is a plain skirt worn underneath, tied with a woven belt. In the cooler mountain areas, the women wear a tzute which can be worn as a shawl or thrown over their shirt for decoration. During the summer, they use it as a sun hat. When there is a festival, they wear it as a cape. The women sometimes wear jewelry.

The Mayan men have changed their clothing over time for political and economical reasons. The men wore huipil just like the women. The shirt was decorated differently than the women's huipil. Single men wore brighter clothes than married men. The men also wore a different version of the tzute. They wore it over their shoulders. The men also wore hats and carried a bag called a morral. They didn't wear jewelry though.

A Mayan Women's Blouse
A Mayan Women's Blouse

Everyday Life

Everyday, the Mayan women would wake up before 4:00am to start fires and make breakfast by toasting leftover cornmeal pancakes. The women would then weave, spin cotton and prepare dinner for the men when they would arrive back from hunting. The men and their sons would go to the fields at 5:00am and harvest their maize (a type of corn) and set traps to catch animals to eat. They would work until midday, then return to their huts. On the way back to their huts, they would check their traps. They also hunted for birds with blowpipes, clay pellets, and occasionally spears. When the men reached the village, there would be a hot bath already waiting for them. Then the women would serve the men food, then eat after the men. After dinner, the men would work on making wooden and jade things, sometimes used in trade. Then, women would resume their weaving and spinning cotton.

Annotated Bibliography

"Mundo Maya online." The Traditional House. 2008. CancĂșn, MĂ©xico. 26 Nov. 2008.
This is an AWESOME website is all about Mayan housing. There are a few pictures and a very elaborate description about the layout. It includes everything you need to know such as a detailed description, lots of diagrams and lots of pictures.

"" Traditional Garments. 2008. Quintana Roo, Mexico. 1 Dec. 2008.
This is a OK website with many different pictures of Mayan clothing. It includes men's clothes, women's clothes and cold temperature clothes. It also includes what accessories they carry around.
It gives a brief description and lots of pictures.

"" Ancient Maya Daily Life. 2006. 28 Nov. 2008.
This is a great website about Mayan daily life. The home page includes links to other topics about Mayans such as dances, fashion, pottery and festivals. The website above is to lead you directly to the daily life section.

"Ancient Civilizations." Maya Daily Life. 1 Dec. 2008.

This is a awesome website with a elaborate timeline of Mayan daily life. It also has lots of information about other things the Mayans did such as their culture, geography, government, etc.

"Maya Civilization." BrainPop. 2 Dec. 2008.
This online database has some information on Mayan Civilizations. It's not the best place to look for info about tribal living but you learn about the actual tribe. BrainPop also has movies about other tribes.

Baquedano, Elizabeth. Aztec, Inca and Maya. Grand Rapids: Dorling Kindersley, Incorporated, 2000
This book has lots of information about the Mayans, the Aztecs and the Incas. It has information about every cultural area you are able to chose from in this project. It has bright, colorful drawings and pictures.

"Maya." Grolier Encyclopedia. 2 Dec. 2008.
This online database is an online encyclopedia. You can type in any keyword and get some info on it. If you type in Maya, you can get some good information about everything you need to know. This is a great website for reasearch purposes!

Perl, Lila. The Ancient Maya. New York: Franklin Watts, 2005.
This is a really good book. It has information that everyone in the group can benefit from. It has pictures, timelines, detailed descriptions and lots more! It is a great website to use for research!