what caused the collapse of the mayan civilization?

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In the first study, published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Arizona State University analysed archaeological data from across the Yucatan to reach a better understanding of the environmental conditions when the area was abandoned 👍 Around this time, they’re have finding, severe reductions in rainfall were coupled with an rapid rate of deforestation, as the Mayans burned and chopped down more and more forest to clear land for agriculture 😎 Interestingly, they also required massive amounts of wood to fuel the fires that cooked the lime plaster for their elaborate constructions—experts estimate it would have taken 20 trees to produce a single square metre of cityscape 🤓 [1]
Some northern Maya cities, conversely, prospered like never before in this period, as did the Maya along the Gulf Coast and central highlands of Mexico; however, for the majority of the Maya in the southern lowlands, the period was nothing short of disaster and, as the historian M.E. Coe describes, ‘This was surely one of the most profound social and demographic catastrophes of all human history’. The question, then, which has preoccupied scholars ever since the re-discovery in the 19th century of mysterious ruins built by, at the time, an equally mysterious civilization, is why did this happen? Below are some of the reasons presented by historians today as to just what caused such a dramatic reversal in fortunes. (we really appreciate Paulanthony Turner from Anqing, China for their insight). [2]
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Delivering the Gordon R. Willey lecture, Turner detailed evidence that two major droughts resulted in the decline and depopulation of a culture that not only had monumental architecture but also a sophisticated understanding of mathematics and astronomy. Elements of this theory have been around for a long time. As early as 1912, archaeologists were theorizing that climate change had contributed to the decline of the Maya, and by the 1970s, it was largely accepted that Maya lands had been densely populated and developed. However, recent evidence across disciplines goes a long way to explaining not only how but when the’s having problems begun — raising more questions along the way. (edited by Tiffny Pritchard on October 9, 2020) [3]
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Historyshistories.com goes on to mention that ​Sometimes you will hear people refer to the Maya as the “Mysterious Maya.” But, what is so mysterious about the Maya? Because so much of their writing, art, architecture, and achievements have been recovered, we are fortunate to have a window into the wonderful life of the Maya. And, due to the their writing, much of the mystery that once surrounded the Maya civilization has dissolved. While scientists continue to work on unraveling the mysteries that remain, one puzzle that lingers has to do with the collapse of Maya cities. After a successful 1500-year run, the Maya simply stopped building and their gorgeous cities fell into ruin [4]

Article References

  1. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-did-the-mayan-civilization-collapse-a-new-study-points-to-deforestation-and-climate-change-30863026/
  2. https://www.worldhistory.org/article/759/the-classic-maya-collapse/
  3. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/02/new-clues-about-how-and-why-the-maya-culture-collapsed/
  4. http://www.historyshistories.com/maya-the-collapse-of-maya-civilization.html
Mae Chow

Written by Mae Chow

Passionate about writing and studying Chinese, I blog about anything from fashion to food. And of course, study chinese! I'm a passionate blogger and life enthusiast who loves to share my thoughts, views and opinions with the world. I share things that are close to my heart as well as topics from all over the world.

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