Professor Cynthia Creel
Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization
Professor Cynthia Creel
No one can say for certain what happened to the Mayan people, but theories abound and include varied possible alternatives to explain the abrupt and mysterious disappearance of the Mayan civilization.
One of the prime mysteries in archaeology is still the collapse of classic Maya. The Mayans are but one of many Mesoamerican ethnic groups whose existence has been known in all of the Yucatan peninsula, Guatemala, and Belize, the eastern half of Tabasco and Chiapas, and the northwest regions of Honduras and El Salvador. Originating in Yucatan in 2600 B.C. and rising to prominence around A.D. 250 Mayans spread into the other areas when evidence for the first kings and dynasties emerged. Around A.D. 750 began the worst drought in the past 7,000 years, climaxing around the year A.D. 800 and suspiciously linked with the Classic collapse. Political issues and warfare is a cultural theory adding to the decline holding that the elite fought too much amongst each other and provided deprived leadership.
Climate change is believed to be the onset and main cause of the Mayan drought leading to the diminishing of the culture. The drought theory also provides a comprehensive explanation, because non-environmental and cultural factors can all be clarified by the effects of elongated drought on Classic Mayan civilization. A heavy dependence upon water-based intensive agricultural techniques was common among the Mayans, particularly in the Classic period. “Too many elites were making too many demands on the system” (William L. Fash). Exceeding the human capacity the environment could withhold led to overhunting of wildlife leaving food scarce. Mayans exhausted the thin tropical soils leaving the land unworkable with... [continues]
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