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The Maya had a number of languages, all closely related but not mutually intelligible. There were two principal divisions - the lowlands groups, including Yucatec, Chol and Chorti - and the highlands (Guatemalan) which included Mam and Quiche. The educated Maya were profoundly intellectual and we have noted their mathematics ( 0 to 100 A.D. ) and astronomy ( A.D. 301 to 400 ) previously. A great renaissance of Mayan Culture now took place in the cities of Yucatan, gradually supplanting the importance of Peten, in the south. (Ref. 177 , 146 , 215 , 163 ) According to traditions, picture writings and Mexican manuscripts written after the conquest, the Toltecs

This suggests the probability of more continuity and interrelationships among the original Mexican populations than often stated. Modern histories do not mention the Toltecs as a separate people until about the 9th century.
were banished from their native country northwest of Mexico in 596 and proceeded southward. (Ref. 205 )

This century marks the beginning of Period V of Costa Rican prehistory, with each of three archaeological zones developing independently. In Guanacaste-Nicoya there was the beginning of the famous Nicoya polychrome pottery tradition which resembled Maya ceramics of the Late Classic period of Honduras and El Salvador. The progress in Panama seemed to come more or less to a halt and this country never developed any truly state-centered societies as seen farther north in Central America. (Ref. 266 )

South america

Northern and western south america

Along various parts of the Magdalena River Valley in Colombia and particularly near San Agustin are enormous piles of debris, some of which have been excavated revealing sculptured monoliths and the whole indicating a great ceremonial center something like a Maya complex. Radio-carbon datings indicate activity in this 6th century with continuation for another 1,000 years. Since it has some similarities to both the Olmecs and to Easter Island the question arises as to whether this astonishing statuary was local in origin or from migrating people from Central America or even from Polynesia. Just east of Popayan on the eastern hot-land part of Andean Columbia is an interior, isolated valley called "Tierradentro" where there are interesting monuments perhaps dating to this same era, although it may be a secondary society having existed a thousand years later. Accurate dating has not been accomplished. Tombs there have long ago been looted, probably of gold and jewels, but three dimensional statues reminiscent of Easter Island and representing anthropomorphic gods are comparable to those of San Agustin. (Ref. 62 )

Peru consisted of about nine separate regions, each with its own local art style in this century. The Moche, or their descendants, and the Nasca were supreme but other states of some consequence were Cajamarca, Recuary, Lima, Huarpa, Waru, Tiahuanaco and Atacameno, all of which used gold, silver and copper for tools as well as jewelry. In Ecuador, beginning about A.D. 500, there were people of the Milagro Culture, noted for elaborate work in gold and for artificial mounds for burial places and home sites. Some of the latter seem to be associated with ridge systems and others with rectangular earth- works, probably made to farm lands subject to seasonal flooding. This culture may have been an off-shoot of the Moche of Peru, described in previous chapters. Similar farming ridges cover many thousands of acres in Bolivia and Colombia and are present near Lake Titicaca, although the dating of these has not been done. (Ref. 9 , 62 )

Eastern south america

There were farming tribes in the Amazon rain forest, cultivating manioc. Farther south the Tuni-Guarania tribes had migrated from the Amazon basin into the Brazilian forest and savannah. In what in now Argentina, there was the Aguada Culture about A.D. 600, characterized by black and yellow pottery with feline motives. (Ref. 8 , 45 )

Forward to America: A.D. 601 to 700

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Source:  OpenStax, A comprehensive outline of world history. OpenStax CNX. Nov 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10595/1.3
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