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Climate and the Collapse of Maya Civilization

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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-05 12:43 AM
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Climate and the Collapse of Maya Civilization
Climate and the Collapse of Maya Civilization

A series of multi-year droughts helped to doom an ancient culture
Larry C. Peterson, Gerald H. Haug

With their magnificent architecture and sophisticated knowledge of astronomy and mathematics, the Maya boasted one of the great cultures of the ancient world. Although they had not discovered the wheel and were without metal tools, the Maya constructed massive pyramids, temples and monuments of hewn stone both in large cities and in smaller ceremonial centers throughout the lowlands of the Yucatn Peninsula, which covers parts of what are now southern Mexico and Guatemala and essentially all of Belize. From celestial observatories, such as the one at Chichn Itz, they tracked the progress of Venus and developed a calendar based on a solar year of 365 days. They created their own system of mathematics, using a base number of 20 with a concept of zero. And they developed a hieroglyphic scheme for writing, one that used hundreds of elaborate signs.

During its Classic period (250950 A.D.), Maya civilization reached a zenith. At its peak, around 750 A.D., the population may have topped 13 million. Then, between about 750 and 950 A.D., their society imploded. The Maya abandoned what had been densely populated urban centers, leaving their impressive stone edifices to fall into ruin. The demise of Maya civilization (which archaeologists call "the terminal Classic collapse") has been one of the great anthropological mysteries of modern times. What could have happened?

cont'd

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Maple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-05 12:53 AM
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1. Now the question is
where did they go?
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-05 02:25 AM
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2. Ummmm.....
the same place the Etruscans went? The Egyptians?
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-05 01:56 PM
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3. Not very far.
I've read that the Mayan population at its height far exceeded the population when the Spanish arrived. Their descendents are still in the area--S. Mexico, Guatemala.

Nature can be considered cruel,in some ways. Excess population starves.
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