The ancestral Maya dates back 4,000 years, around 2000 BCE.  Major change all over Mesoamerica began after 2000 BCE in the Preclassic or Formative period. The Maya began as nomadic farmers and eventually transitioned to more settled life; villages are known to have spread throughout the Maya lowlands by 1000BCE. By the Late Preclassic period (~300 BCE), regional centers had formed in the southern Maya lowlands.

For more on the Maya, check out some of these resources!