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Viewings: 5144Each civilization have their UPS and downs, but no other culture has not experienced such a serious decline, as the Mayan Empire, which was swallowed up by the jungle after several centuries of prosperity and progress in construction of cities, culture, knowledge and agriculture. What went wrong?
Recent studies indicate that the Maya were not hit by a devastating eruption of the volcano, they did not destroy the terrible epidemic diseases, as happened... climate change, which provoked their departure from their familiar places.
However, even before the cataclysms Maya managed to achieve the highest blossoming around 300 660 years of our era. At the beginning of the so-called Classic period Maya developed about 60 cities, each of which lived from 60 to 70 thousand people. These cities were in the territory of Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
Surrounded by the pyramids, shopping areas, stadiums for games and government buildings dwellers were discussed philosophical issues, has developed a precise calendar, based on the solar year, enjoyed thick bitter drink made on the basis of cocoa beans, the world's first hot chocolate. Farmers and farmers have also achieved considerable success, transforming the slopes of the hills in step fields to feed a growing population.
After a period of prosperity declined, which lasted about 2 centuries. To 1100 residents of the once prosperous cities of the Maya abandoned their homes and went to new lands. But where they ran and why?
In the 19th century when researchers began to find overgrown ruins "lost cities"there are many theories about why these cities were abandoned: researchers believed that could be devastating volcanic eruption or an earthquake or a hurricane, or maybe the Empire struck a deadly disease.
Today, however, researchers agree that the decline of the Mayan civilization occurred for several reasons, which are closely related with each other, including overcrowding, warriors, famine and drought. To date, scientists have also considered the issue of climate change, which was caused by the Maya.
Rain promotes prosperity
To link climate change with the rise and fall of the Mayan civilization, in the course of recent studies on climate change during the time of the Maya, who were recently published in the journal Science, the researchers analyzed stalagmites in one of Belize cave - lumpy rock pillars rising from the floor of the cave up.
Formed because water with dissolved minerals dripping in the ceiling to the floor of the cave stalagmites become thicker in rainy years, allowing researchers to understand when in history has taken place wet periods. One sample that was tested scientists made it possible to calculate the periods of climate change, which took place 2 thousand years ago.
Stalagmites in blizkoi cave made it possible to understand that in the beginning of the Classic period Maya climate in these places was incredibly wet, much more humid than in the previous thousand years. At this time there was a significant increase in the population due to the development of agriculture.
During the wet period on 440 660 years the city began to grow. All attributes of the Maya civilization, including complex political system, monumental architecture, complex religion, has reached the highest blossoming that in this era.
Climate change gives rise to local military conflicts
However, the 200-year period humid climate can be considered abnormal for these areas. When the climate changed and went dry, for Maya fell on hard times. Maya was unable to maintain the conditions for life that they could afford in times of heavy rains. The period from 660 1000 years of our era is characterized as incredibly dry. Agriculture declined, so there is nothing surprising in the fact that society conflict began.
Political and religious systems Maya were based on the belief that the rulers were in close cooperation with the gods. When this "cooperation" did not help to achieve a drop of rain for good harvests, the society started to question appeared voltage.
For example, it is known that during a short period of 25 years between 750 and 775 39 years leading warriors rulers ordered to build the same number of stone monuments, as it pointed at the competition, warriors and strategic alliances, scientists say. But it is even more difficult times.
Research stalagmites show that in the period between 1020 and 1100 years in the area was observed to be the most serious drought in the last 2 thousand years. Because of this, it was suggested that yields the Maya were killed, famine, mass migration, increased mortality rates.
By that time, as the Spanish conquerors arrived in America in the 16th century, the Mayan population that lived far from the shore of the ocean, decreased by 90 percent, and big cities are much emptied, and then were thrown. Former land overgrown with grass, and the city came forest.
Cautionary tale for modern people?
This decline was not caused solely by natural disasters in some way Maya themselves are guilty in its decline. In this region there were about 10 million people who built the city due to deforestation. Widespread deforestation has reduced humidity, has less to evaporate into the atmosphere of water, which disrupted the natural cycle of rainfall, reduced the amount of rainfall.
According to computer simulations that were applied in the course of research, the scientists found that the drought had reduced humidity by 5-15% annually. The moisture is reduced by 10 percent is considered detrimental to the environment.
If to add an increased level of mortality, the situation will be even more disastrous. This is a cautionary tale for modern people, the researchers said. Today, people cut down more forest to break agricultural land, build new cities, as global temperatures continue to rise. We risk repeating the fate of the Maya civilization, according to some researchers.
However, other scientists dispute this view. "This is like over-simplification. The situation of the Maya cannot be equated to the modern world, our society is radically different from the ancient Mayan", said Professor of environment and society B. L. Turner from Arizona State University.
Why Mayan not returned to their city?
In their research, published in the August issue of the American journal "proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences", Turner tries to dispel some common misconceptions associated with the idea that the Mayan civilization collapsed after the conquests of the European conquistadors.
"Civilization has not been completely erased from the face of the earth, in these places still possible to meet the descendants of the Maya. Culture, tradition is still maintained by" - said the Professor. However, cities that once existed, no longer. It's very strange.
Very often happens that many people leave their homes and had never come back, Turner said. The only bright example would be, in his opinion, the unexpected departure of people in the 15th century from the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia.
Turner concluded that the environment is restored quickly after periods of drought. But then why the Mayans never returned back to their magnificent city? Turner believes that it is connected with the coast. Avoiding starvation and war conflicts, Maya moved closer to the ocean. Trade routes shifted from land to water.
To live on the coast is relatively easier than far from the sea, so the inner city of the Maya remained empty and neglected. No catastrophic earthquakes, eruptions, plague or curses were not. Maya just moved to the beaches where is a better place to live. However, before come from Europeans.
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