Top Documentary Films: Why the Aztec Really Disappeared
The Aztecs were a fairly advanced and powerful that could be compared to ancient Rome in terms of its level of technological sophistication. The Aztecs were not as sophisticated as their contemporaries in all areas of science and technology but they were very advanced in areas that they needed to be and did very well with what little they had and what the obstacles that they had to face. The Aztecs used many different technologies and their sophisticated knowledge of many sciences to try to regulate and better their daily lives.
The Aztecs used a combination of astronomy, canal building and highly developed agricultural science to plant the right plants at the right time in order to feed their empire. Astronomy was used to make calendars which would have determined the best time to begin to plant and harvest each food. Canal building and irrigation allowed the Aztecs to feed their plants rich riverbed soil by building island farms in the middle of rivers and canals, a farm of this variety was a Chinampa. Building farms in the middle of rivers allowed the Aztecs to quickly deliver goods to the nearest market. The Aztecs also built farms on slopes by building terraces from the soil, this also served to limit soil erosion. Due to the high demand for food that existed in the Aztec empire, slash and burn were also common methods of farming, this also lead to an ever increasing demand for land.
The societal progress of the Aztecs relied heavily on math to determine the best date to do certain things, the construction of buildings, canals, roads, taxes and even religious events. The Aztecs created 3 calendars each having significance in a different area of life; a ritual calendar, an annual and a long count calendar. Even though the ritual calendar was dedicated to religion, all of the calendars had some degree of religious value as Aztec society tied everything to religion.
As sophisticated as the Aztecs were they lacked some technologies that were available elsewhere and therefore had their own unique response to problems. The most shocking thing about Aztec technology is that there is a lack of the use the wheel and pack animals, to compensate the Aztecs had good roads, professional runners, many rest stops situated every 6-10 miles, river highways, many causeways and secure toll roads. Another unusual technological trait of this civilization was that metallurgy did not go very far beyond copper, tin, lead and jewellery gold and silver. To compensate for the limited knowledge in metallurgy they used obsidian in place of metal in many tools which required sharpness.