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  • You may have scrolled past one of their haunting, crumbling

  • pyramids in the background of your well-traveled friend's

  • Instagram posts.

  • But chances are, you have no idea

  • what everyday life was really like for the ancient Mayans.

  • From ballgames to body piercings to getting hopped up

  • on chocolate, the ancient Mayan culture

  • has a lot more in common with our world today

  • than you'd probably ever think.

  • Today, we're exploring what life was really

  • like for the ancient Mayans.

  • But before we get started, be sure to subscribe

  • to the Weird History Channel.

  • Oh, leave a comment too and let us know what historical era you

  • would like to hear about.

  • OK, time to get Mayan.

  • The ancient Mayan Empire was huge,

  • spanning across most of Central America,

  • including southern Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize,

  • and Guatemala.

  • The Mayans were an advanced, brilliant society,

  • and if you could avoid getting sacrificed to one of the 165

  • gods that were worshipped, you could

  • spend your days working eating and getting sick tattoos.

  • The ancient Mayans may have spent a lot of time worshipping

  • their gods, but they didn't do so

  • without a few spiked beverages in their arsenal.

  • One ceremonial drink, balche, came from fermented tree bark

  • and was sweetened with honey.

  • The Mayans considered this drink to be sent from the gods.

  • So if you're ordering one, make it a double.

  • They also got chocolate wasted on cacao-based alcoholic drinks

  • that were often spiked with hallucinogens.

  • If you're ever at a house party with an ancient Mayan,

  • watch out for that punch bowl.

  • The Mayans definitely took their drinking seriously.

  • In fact, a lot of Mayans would get enemas

  • in order to be as intoxicated as humanly possible.

  • There is actual written documentation

  • that depicts the act of Mayans getting bored and pouring wine

  • off their bums, through a tube making them officially

  • the world's first frat bros.

  • Mayans were around thousands of years

  • before gold teeth and grills defined a generation of hip hop

  • style, but that doesn't mean that they weren't blinging way

  • before it was on the trend.

  • The Mayans had an advanced form of tooth care for their time,

  • especially when it came to cosmetic dentistry.

  • A trip to the dentist was more like a trip to the beauty salon

  • than a sterile, fluorescent lighting-filled hell

  • scape we know it as today.

  • In fact, it wasn't uncommon for mines

  • to get gems drilled into their teeth

  • through skillfully carved out holes.

  • Miraculously, my dentists were able to accomplish this

  • without hitting any nerves, unlike my dentist.

  • Lack of nerve damage notwithstanding,

  • the Mayan dental practices were not without pain.

  • But it was worth it to be able to show off

  • a mouth full of gems.

  • They may not have had Novocaine or laughing gas,

  • but at least, you'd leave your root canal

  • looking like Lil Wayne.

  • And if there's a chance you might

  • get sacrificed to the gods in any moment,

  • you might as well look cool while you do it.

  • Probably one of the most infamous aspects

  • of the ancient Mayan polytheistic way of life

  • was their tendency to sacrifice people to gods.

  • Children were usually the ideal sacrifices

  • because of their youth and innocence,

  • but it is also common for slaves, prisoners of war,

  • and even average Mayan adults to be killed

  • in sacrificial ceremonies.

  • And if that's not enough to keep you on your toes,

  • their primary method of sacrificing

  • involves cutting open the chest and removing the heart.

  • If that's not dramatic enough, they

  • do all of that on top of a pyramid

  • and throw the lifeless body down the stairs afterward.

  • If you had to climb up that many steps,

  • you'd want to be sacrificed too.

  • The Mayans knew how to drink, and they definitely

  • knew how to eat.

  • The three staples of the Mayan diet

  • were maize, squash, and beans, an iconic basic food group

  • trio otherwise known as the three sisters.

  • Aside from the basics, Mayans also

  • chili peppers, sweet potatoes, avocados, tomatoes, papayas,

  • onions, and garlic.

  • For meat, they ate turkey, venison, iguana, dog, wild pigs

  • known as peccary, and fish.

  • The Mayans were also the first civilization

  • to make corn tortillas.

  • So if you love chips and dip, better

  • show some respect to the Mayan root of that guacamole scoop.

  • They also invented tamales and were the first civilization

  • to roast cacao seeds to make chocolate.

  • Thank you, Mayans, for that.

  • If you think tattoo-covered bikers are intimidating,

  • be thankful you never ran into an ancient Mayan man or woman.

  • Their process for getting inked up

  • involved getting painted on and then cut into,

  • culminating in another coat of paint over the open wound.

  • That process sounds just a tad more

  • horrifying than getting a peace sign

  • tattoo gunned on your ankle.

  • If you were Mayan and you got a tattoo,

  • you were considered one of the bravest people to exist.

  • Remember that the next time your workplace

  • sent you home for showing off your infinity sign tattoo.

  • You're just as brave as an ancient Mayan

  • who got cut open and painted.

  • Men would wait until after marriage to get their tattoos,

  • and women would get tattoos as well, avoiding the breast area.

  • Piercings were popular too, and not just for looking cool

  • but also as bloodletting sacrifice to the gods.

  • In a move more punk than any counterculture scenester

  • could ever imagine, minds would pierce their ears, genitals,

  • and tongues with thorns or stingray spines

  • for both cosmetic and ceremonial reasons.

  • The Mayans were partly so into piercing because they

  • were master jewelry makers.

  • Only men wore nose and lip plugs, though.

  • Whether the piercing was for religious reasons or secular,

  • you can definitely say the practice made all

  • of their faces, ahem, holey.

  • If you were an ancient Mayan and you

  • wanted to blow off some steam on the court,

  • you'd probably play a game called

  • pok-a-tok, the oldest team sport in the history of the world.

  • Unlike a casual game of playground basketball,

  • pok-a-tok was not for the faint of heart.

  • Even LeBron James might have struggled with bouncing around

  • a 10 pound rubber ball with only the use of his midsection

  • and hips.

  • The game was notoriously brutal, and players

  • would die of internal bleeding just from the shear force

  • of getting hit with the ball.

  • Often, prisoners would be forced to play each other

  • in a game of pok-a-tok to determine who would

  • get sacrificed to the gods.

  • That is the epitome of a sudden death game.

  • If you ever feel like your looks aren't measuring up

  • to society's standards, be grateful you weren't

  • alive during the ancient Mayan times

  • when the peak standard of beauty was being cross-eyed and having

  • an elongated skull in the shape of an ear of corn.

  • Mayans wanted so badly to look like a far sighted

  • yellow vegetable that they, in a practice

  • similar to the Egyptians, would bind

  • their infants malleable skull between two planks of wood

  • for long periods of time in order

  • to achieve the look du jour.

  • But hey, it's still probably more natural than botox.

  • Imagine a world where everyone was

  • racing to get a receding hairline that

  • resembled George Costanza.

  • The five head look was big amongst the ancient Mayans

  • to the point where men would shave or even

  • burn their hair lines to create a more

  • drastic receding hairline.

  • The elite class also wore elaborate headdresses

  • consisting of animal skins, jade,

  • and other precious materials.

  • Our elite class today isn't so different.

  • Just look at the headdresses of the people who

  • attended the Fyre Festival.

  • The Mayans thought to treat asthma

  • with tobacco, a sav that made about as much sense as curing

  • alcoholism with a shot of vodka.

  • They were also guilty of some other medical mistakes,

  • like thinking the cure to an upset stomach