What Happened to the Mayan Civilization

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Week 2 Assignment 1
Michael McCue
HUM111 World Cultures I
Dr. Andrew N Allphin
16 October 2012
•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. Many historians have questioned “how” or “why” the Mayan civilization disappeared after the 10th century; however there is no definitive answer to this question. One possible theory is the Mayan’s civilization grew to such an extent that they deforested so much of the region that it had significant climate changes, thereby forcing the Mayan people to immigrate to other regions (Server, 2004), this theory has some scientific background, and scientists have used satellites to study the topsoil of Central America. They found that right before the civilization collapse, the sediment had changed from tree pollen to weed pollen, suggesting there were no more trees in the area. The result of a treeless environment is the erosion of fertile topsoil, warmer climate, and a possible reduction of precipitation. Since the Mayans depended on water reservoirs from precipitation, this would have had a detrimental effect. Another theory surrounding the disappearance of the Mayan people is consistent droughts that took place preceding the tenth century and the reduction of civilization through various wars caused the Mayan civilization to dwindle down to virtual extinction. While both theories sound relevant, scientific data is also consistent to what is happening the region of Central and South American and the deforestation of the rain forest. Perhaps history is only repeating itself. References

Medina-Elizalde, M. & Rohling, E. J. (2012). Collapse of Classic Maya Civilization Related to Modest Reduction in Precipitation. Science 24 February 2012, Vol. 335 no. 6071 pp. 956-959. DOI:10.1126/science.1216629

Sever, T. (2004)....
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