April 21, 2015
New Finds on the Maya Collapse in the South
A team from Yale and other universities looked at climate data in the southern and northern Maya lowlands. The collapse of the Maya in the south from 800-950 CE was partly due to more severe drought in the south. They studied stable hydrogen and carbon isotope analyses of plant wax lipids in sediment cores taken from Lakes Chichancanab and Salpeten, in the northern and southern Maya Lowlands, respectively. They found that the south had more intense drying which led to societal decline in the south. They also found a period of intense drying in the Early Classic (200-500 CE) leading to some larger sites being abandoned and political fragmentation taking place. Teotihuacan entered the area, leading to political re-alignment.
The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
*Peter M. J. Douglas, et al., “Drought, agricultural adaptation, and sociopolitical collapse in the Maya Lowlands,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1419133112
Popular Archaeology has the report here:
Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Maya News Magazine
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