The Maya were once considered one of the greatest civilizations in North America. They built pyramids and temples to honour their gods and to preserve their religion. The cultural and educational achievements of the Maya came centuries before other cultures. These achievements still exist today along with the Mayan culture, which has spanned over two thousand years. The Mayan people of today still hold these traditions sacred and want to preserve them. Only about two million Mayan Indians exist today, but their culture reflects that of their ancestors, along with the Spanish, who invaded the Maya in the sixteenth century. Archaeologists who have studied many Mayan sites trace the Mayas back ten thousand years when their ancestors migrated from Asia to the Yucatan peninsula and northern Central America. The history of the Maya is divided into three major time periods: pre-classic (2000 BC-AD’300), classic (AD 300-AD 900), and post-classic (AD 900-AD 1500). Early Mayan settlements date back to twenty-four hundred BC, but few traces of Mayan culture before AD four hundred have been found.