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The Great Maya Droughts

Water, Life and Death

Richardson B. Gill (author)

ISBN: 9780826327741

Publication Date: Apr 2001

Format: Paperback

This study argues that the collapse of Classic Maya civilization was driven by drought. Between A.D. 800 and 1000, unrelenting drought killed millions of Maya people with famine and thirst and initiated a cascade of internal collapses that destroyed their civilization.

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Between AD 800 and 1000, during what is known as the Classic Maya Collapse, unrelenting drought caused the deaths of millions of Maya people and initiated a cascade of internal collapses that destroyed their civilisation. Linking global, regional, and local climate change, the author explores how atmospheric processes, volcanism, ocean currents, and other natural forces combined to create a climate that pried apart the highly complex civilisation of the tropical Maya Lowlands in the ninth and tenth centuries. Drawing on knowledge of other prehistoric and historic droughts, this is a compelling study of the relationship of humans to their natural and physical environment. The author develops a new, scientific explanation of why the Classic Maya failed to adjust their behaviour and culture to the climatic conditions, and why civilisations in general sometimes collapse in the face of radical environmental change.
Illustrations maps and charts
Pages 464
Date Published 30 Apr 2001
Publisher University of New Mexico Press
Subject/s Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500   History of the Americas  
Richardson B Gill

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