Local materials like as limestone at Palenque and Tikal, sandstone at Quirigua, and volcanic tuff at Copan were employed by Maya architects. Only stone tools were used to carve the blocks. Burnt-lime cement was used to make a type of concrete, and it was also used as mortar on occasion. The roofs of many buildings at Chichén-Itzá were made from palm leaves that had been coated with hot wax or tar.
The pillars at Tikal are carved from a single piece of stone and have distinct characteristics depending on their location within the city. They range in size from about 1 meter (3 feet) high to over 20 meters (65 feet). Each pillar is decorated with three different types of carvings: anthropomorphic figures, geometric designs, and text. There are nearly 1000 anthropomorphic figures represented among the ruins of Tikal; many of these sculptures are still wearing clothes that have disintegrated over time.
At Palenque, some structures have thick walls made of closely fitted stones that are almost impossible to move. Other buildings have much thinner walls that appear to be made out of sticks that have been tied together with rope or vine ties.
The Inca built their cities with unlimited quantities of labor force, using only axes, hammers, and ropes to construct enormous structures out of rock.
Palenque and Tikal were the major limestone quarries used. Despite the fact that limestone was the most valuable resource, they also gathered sandstone from Quirigua and volcanic tuff from Copan. The Mayans used mortar in almost all of their construction endeavors. Limestone is very hard to work with because it can only be cut with a knife or ax. But the Mayans had many other tools like hammers, chisels, and drills. They also used obsidian from volcanoes such as San Salvador and Tenosique.
Limestone is heavy. It's common for some areas to have deep wells where the Mayans would transport the rock to be carved at their workshops. These wells could be as deep as 30 feet or more.
The Mayans built many impressive structures using only limestone. Some of these structures remain intact today. Others have been partially destroyed by time or weather conditions. However, even after thousands of years some things remain visible today. For example, an artist's rendering based on data collected by remote-controlled vehicles shows how much of the pyramids at Chichén-Itzá still stand. The picture reveals that some parts are more worn than others. We know this because some parts of the structure are darker in color while others are lighter. This is due to differences in exposure to wind and rain.
The Maya were excellent painters who worked with a wide range of materials such as limestone and other stones, clay, wood, stucco (fine plaster), shells, bone, and jade. In the absence of metal tools, the Maya made tools and weapons out of chert (flint) and obsidian. They also used fire to work metals such as copper into desired shapes.
Maya painting was done in many different styles. The most common style was called "codex" or book painting. This involved covering the entire surface of the painting with colored chalks or oils. Then, using a sharp stone tool, the artist would scrape away everything but the central image.
Another popular style was called "ceramic painting". Here, the artist would cover their canvas with thick layers of white clay, then use colors to decorate the scene before them. When complete, they'd burn the picture into the clay.
Yet another style was called "temple painting". Artists would first paint a large-scale version of their picture inside a temple. They'd make this painting on any available material including walls, floors, and even furniture if needed. Once finished, they'd cover the image with black ochre or some other dark color. Finally, they'd burn away all evidence that something had been painted over.
In addition to these styles, individual artists may have had their own unique techniques they could employ when painting a picture.
They frequently employed obsidian, copper, andesite, flint, wood, sidian, and chert as materials. Among the native construction resources, the Aztecs employed wood and local soil, as well as a type of sun-dried brick known as adobe. These were the most prevalent materials used in the construction of Aztec structures. However, they also used stone if available such as tuff, rubble, or quarried rock.
The Aztecs created many beautiful objects with material from around the world. They carved feathers from bird bones to make clothing accessories for the nobility. Weapons were also highly decorated with painted designs. Jewelry was made from silver and gold materials imported from Spain and Europe.
In addition to these foreign materials, the Aztecs made use of elements found within their own country. For example, they used the red pigment called cochineal which is derived from insects. Cochineal bugs are harvested before they dry out and then dried further until red in color. This process creates an insect that is very sensitive to heat and light; therefore, it must be done in the shade away from open windows.
Cochineal bugs are harvested by scraping off the exoskeleton (outer shell) with your fingernails. The remaining body is washed and dried further in the shade at low temperatures. When completely dry, the bodies are crushed into a powder form.