Late Classic Maya Collapse by yaofenji

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									Late Classic Maya Collapse


      A.D. 800-900
“Collapse”

   Most impressive buildings date to
    Terminal Classic
   Major construction virtually ceased
    after 810 A. D.
        last date at Yaxchilan between AD 810-
         840
        Bonampak AD 800
        Copan shortly after AD 800
        http://www.ku.edu/~hoopes/506/Lectures/Collapse.html
Representation of the Classic Maya
Collapse, from Lowe, 1985




 http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/slides/slideset/12/12_201_bslide.html
Events

   slowdown in construction and erection
    of monuments
   lack of hieroglyphic texts
   long-distance trade contacts ended
Characteristics
   “Collapse" may be a poor term
   Failure more complete in core than in
    periphery
   Decline most profound at Tikal
       population at Tikal only one-tenth of pre-AD 800
        size
       populations appear to continue in vicinity of Late
        Peten-Itza
       increase of activity in northern Lowlands
   Population centers abandoned
Reasons: internal factors
   natural disasters
       Earthquakes:evidence at Xunantunich and
        Quirigua
       hurricanes
       Epidemics/disease
           yellow fever
               presence in monkeys suggests it may be indigenous
           skeletal evidence from Tikal and Altar suggest
            nutritional decline
Internal Factors, con’d

   ecological disasters
       decline in soil fertility
       over exploitation
       failure of swidden agriculture
       failure of productivity of grasslands
Documenting Climate Change

   One area of study, Lake Chichancanab, is
    located in the center of the Yucatan.
   Lake Chichancanab is a long (26-km),
    narrow (2 km) lake, consisting of a series of
    basins that are connected during high water
    level.
   Sediment cores were collected from the
    central basin in a water depth of 6.9 m.


http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/slides/slideset/12/12_206_slide.html
Lake Chichancanab looking towards
the eastern hills




http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/slides/slideset/12/12_206_bslide.html
Other study sites
   Lake Punta Laguna, located in the
    northeastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula
    about 20 km N-NE of Coba, a major Mayan
    archaeological site.
   Punta Laguna consists of three
    interconnected basins, each with a
    maximum depth of about 20-m.
   The coring site was located in the far basin
    in a water depth of about 6.3-m.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/slides/slideset/12/12_207_slide.html
Lake Punta Laguna located in the northeastern
section of the Yucatan Peninsula




 http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/slides/slideset/12/12_207_bslide.html
     Illustration of using lakes to
     determine climate change
   This illustration shows the simple working
    assumptions for interpreting changes in the
    sediment record in terms of climate
    (evaporation/precipitation).
   Top: Under conditions of wet climate (low
    E/P), we expect high lake levels, dilute
    concentrations of solutes, low 18O to
    16Oratios in lake water and aquatic shells,
    and sediments consisting of mainly organic
    carbon and calcite.
   Middle: Under conditions of drier climate
    (moderate E/P), we expect lower lake levels,
    higher concentrations of dissolved solutes,
    higher ratios of 18O and 16O, and perhaps
    sediments dominated by calcite.
   Bottom: Under arid climate conditions (high
    E/P), we expect low lake levels (perhaps
    desiccation), high dissolved solute
    concentrations, high ratios of 18O and 16O
    and, in the case of Lake Chichancanab,
    sediments dominated by gypsum (CaSO4).
          http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/slides/slideset/12/12_214_slide.html
     Possible period of draught




http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/edu/dees/V1003/lectures/culture_climate/sld023.html
    Other Internal Factors
   Social disasters
       popular revolt, suggested by Thompson
       evidence and Piedras Negras of broken thrones
       increased differences between elite and non-elite classes
       rupture in trade i.e. rise of trading centers on peripheries led to
        collapse of core
       competition from Mexican states
           traditional ruling elite could not or would not improve competitive
            efficiency
       notions of cyclical history
           fatalistic associations with Katun 11 Ahau
           may have been exacerbated by distance between social classes
       civil warfare
           attempts by one center at consolidation most scholars interpret
            depictions as small-scale warfare and capture
    Reasons: External Factors
    Foreign invasion
        iconographic evidence from Seibal
            identified as Putun Maya, people from Gulf Coast
            rose to great power in Postclassic period
            may have become mercantile center with Altar eventually
             abandoned
        lack of evidence elsewhere
            suggests invasion may have been more of an effect than
             cause of collapse
            change in trade patterns suggests Late Classic Maya may
             have been isolated
            Putun Maya were seacoast traders
            demise of Tikal canoe routes so busy in Early Classic
            superceded by ocean-going routes around Yucatan
            withdrawal of Teotihuacan interaction may have caused Middle
             Classic hiatus
  Evidence: Copan




      Two skulls from Copan showing anemia.
      The skull on the right is from an elite individual.

http://www.learner.org/exhibits/collapse/copan/bones.php?s_id=138282932404B
      Copan




     One side of this altar was completed, but the other sides were left
      unfinished.
     On one of these unfinished sides, the Maya text shows a date, equivalent
      to February 10, A.D. 822. The remaining text was never finished. There
      are no known monuments at Copán dated after A.D. 822.

http://www.learner.org/exhibits/collapse/copan/monuments.php?s_id=138282932404BC
         Copan




        This slide is of mahogany pollen, dating to around A.D. 1200-1250.
        It shows that the Copán Valley had largely returned to forest by that time.
        Before A.D. 1200-1250, there is little evidence of mahogany pollen in the
         sample. Mahogany pollen would be present in areas of tall forest, but not
         in areas of heavy farming.


http://www.learner.org/exhibits/collapse/copan/botany.php?s_id=138282932404BCAB
       Copan: Erosion
       Some Copán houses found
        near hillsides show debris
        from erosion.
       The probable cause of this
        erosion is that people were
        overfarming the hillsides.
       The erosion seems to have
        begun in the mid-eighth
        century and to have
        continued for a long time
        afterward.
       At some point, these
        houses were abandoned.
        Eventually, some houses
        were completely buried by
        erosion debris.

http://www.learner.org/exhibits/collapse/copan/houses.php?s_id=138282932404BCABD
  Copan: Obsidian manufacture




       Obsidian blades found in Copán households show a range of
        dates, from A.D. 500 to 1200.
       After A.D. 950-1000, the number of blades drops off.

http://www.learner.org/exhibits/collapse/copan/houses.php?s_id=138282932404BCABD
    Collapse at Copan? Decline
    may be better term.
    Based on the evidence found at Copán, this team of archaeologists
     concluded that overpopulation was a major contributor to collapse.
         A very large number of people lived in the Copán Valley, and so more
          and more of the land was farmed, just as it is today.
         This caused environmental stresses, such as erosion and crop
          shortages.
         These in turn caused malnutrition and disease, which were clear from
          the anemia shown in the skulls—even the skulls of the noble classes.
    From the obsidian dates and the pollen sample, the archaeologists
     concluded that the end of Copán was gradual, at least in the
     countryside.
    Though no monuments were built after A.D. 822, the population in
     the valley did not drop off seriously until about A.D. 950-1000.
    Significant farming continued in the area until A.D. 1200-1250.
    After 1200-1250, the Copán Valley returned to forest, this previous
     center of Maya life abandoned by all but a few remaining farmers.


         http://www.learner.org/exhibits/collapse/copan/experts.php
    Lamanai
   Anomaly, because it
    continued beyond
    the Classic period.
   Lamanai, or
    "submerged
    crocodile," began
    around 1500 B.C.




          http://www.northernbelize.com/see_lamanai.html
    Lamanai, con’d
   Located adjacent to the New River lagoon, Lamanai's main
    structures and excavated artifacts exhibit many representations
    of the crocodile.
   Some of Lamanai's ruins are some of the oldest in Belize dating
    back to 700 B.C.,
   Yet, of the 700 buildings within the complex, less than five
    percent have been excavated and explored.
   Aside from the central pyramid, thick forest has consumed many
    of the limestone mounds that housed the thousands of Mayan
    inhabitants.
   With a population exceeding 35,000 at the height of the city's
    power, Lamanai's trading influence extended over the borders of
    present-day Guatamala, Honduras, Mexico, and Belize.



          http://www.northernbelize.com/see_lamanai.html
Lamanai New River Lagoon
Reconstructed Main Temple
Main Temple Under Construction




    http://www.northernbelize.com/see_lamanai.html
Lamanai ball court
Lamanai
Lamanai temple with mask
Lamanai Mask
Lamanai Stela 9
Lamanai Crocodile
Goodbye Lamanai
So, why did the Classic Maya
Collapse/Decline??

   Does one reason fit all?
   Do several reasons fit all?
   Different reasons for different sites?

								
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