The Aztec and Mayan civilizations were able to accomplish several feats including the establishment of city-states with great pyramid temples and public plazas with huge stone columns; they also created complex writing and mathematical systems, developed astrological advances, built tools and were able to measure time effectively. They also created many statues, artifacts, ball-playing courts and pottery pieces.
The Aztec civilization developed in Mesoamerica beginning in the 1200s. They created a 365-day agricultural calendar and used a sacred calendar as well. They created a writing system that was based on symbols and glyphs. There are Aztec books that remain and that share the rich depictions of Aztec legends. These books also detail the beliefs of the Aztec people and their daily lifestyle.
The Mayan people built their greatest cities between A.D. 250 and A.D. 900. They used two calendars with one being based on a solar year and one on a sacred almanac. The Maya also developed a three-symbol numerical system for recording numbers into the millions.
Both civilizations are praised because of their complexity in a time when many civilizations were very primitive. Along with the Inca civilization, these two are considered the "great civilizations." The Inca civilization is not mentioned in detail here because the civilization failed to come up with a writing system for recording information.