Homes Illustration

Maya Empire for Kids

The Maya household was composed of several buildings, built around patios and courtyards. This was true for both the rich and the poor. The household was similar to a compound. Many different generations of the same family lived in the compound, each in their own rooms or building, connected by a series of courtyards and patios.

Households could be quite a maze. There might be workshops and sleeping quarters, and in really large compounds steam baths and tombs and shrines. Usually there was a separate kitchen and a separate storage area. Most households had a common living area where the family could meet for meals or for whatever purpose.

The Maya did use some furniture. They used stone platforms as beds. In the ruins, archeologists have found ring holes for curtains that probably separated living areas from sleeping areas.

In each family, only sons could inherit, so it was really important to have a son, or the family compound could one day be lost to a stranger.

Children were taught the importance of not committing a crime, especially a serious crime such as murder. If someone was found guilty of a serious crime, their punishment might be death, but the victim's family had the option of demanding payment instead. Payment sometimes was the family compound.

Coming of Age Ceremony


Social Structure

Daily Life in the Maya Empire

Mayas for Kids