Chiefdoms and Early States in Africa and the Americas, 600 BCE–600 CE 148

The Maya developed a script of some 800 images. Some are pictograms standing for words; others are syllables to be combined with other syllables to form words.

Personification of the forces of nature and performance of rituals and sacrifices to ensure the benevolence of the gods and goddesses.

An agricultural village or town of up to 1,000 inhabitants, in which people know each other, requiring a person of authority (an elder or the head of a large family) to keep order as a respected chief.

A belief in which an evil person (male or female) can harm an innocent victim at a distance and cause the victim to become possessed, with attendant illnesses.

A city-state or territorial state of at least several thousand inhabitants in which a ruler, claiming a divine mandate and supported by a military force, keeps order and provides for the defense against outside attacks.

Long geometric lines and figures as well as outlines of animals formed in the desert by removing darker stones and exposing the lighter sand underneath.

Many plants pick up silica from the soil. After these plants decay, the silica returns to the soil in the form of phytoliths, which can be analyzed microscopically. Carbon dating of soil layers provides approximate dates.

This insect can carry the virus that causes sleeping sickness, causing extreme fatigue and eventual death in humans and domesticated animals. Some animal species were able to adapt as dwarf variations, notably horses, cattle, and goats. The fly thrives in low elevations in rain forests, along rivers, and around lakes.

Perception of reality based on the concept of nature in all its manifestations (planets and stars, landscapes, trees and plants, animals and humans), pervaded by spirits and influencing each other.

An area of steppe or semidesert bordering the Sahara.