Today the Maya homeland is being studied by archaeologists. They unearth buildings to reconstruct local cultures. They date and compare artifacts to determine where the Maya traded and what their daily lives were like.
They work with botanists, who study ancient pollen to detect changes in the climate and environment, and art historians who examine art and architecture.
Epigraphers decipher hieroglyphs to recover the history and stories from the Mayas. Just 30 years ago, a team of scientists figured out that the Maya clearly used complex sentence structure. Before then scientists thought the glyphs (the pictures that stand for words) were lists of dates and heroic feats. The Maya wrote stories that used plays on words and other language techniques. Led by expert scientists, hundreds of students continue to solve the mysteries. They work in thatched huts and work under the direction of Maya archaeologists.