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Anthro 3 Final Essay

Anthro 3 Final Essay - 1 Sapp Throughout history many...

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Throughout history, many civilizations have rose to be today’s greatness than suddenly plummeted to be tomorrow’s mystery. Several explanations for this phenomenon have been explained by social unrest, disease, and warfare. When looking at the ancient civilizations of the Maya in Mesoamerica and the Anasazi at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico it appears that other factors could have been the main contributors for the collapse of these societies. Today, modern scholars and researchers believe the collapse of these societies is due to climate change and several inconvenient droughts. During the 12 th century extended periods of drier and hotter conditions in New Mexico could have led to the desertion and evaporation of the Anasazi civilizations at the Chaco Canyon. From the 8 th to 10 th century it can be observed that a decrease in rainfall for the two centuries may have created substantial droughts and ultimately caused social instability due to the lack of food resources. Though disease, warfare, and social unrest may have be the direct and obvious reasons for the fall of these two great civilizations, it has emerged that several ecological pressures are largely responsible for the failing societies as well. The Maya civilization was located throughout the present-day southern Mexican states of Chiapas, Tabasco, and the Yucatán Peninsula states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatán, as well as, the present-day nations of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. The origins of the Maya are believed to begin around 2,000 BCE, however during the 10 th century AD the Maya civilization suddenly collapses ending the highly complex civilization. The Maya appear to be an advanced and complex society because of the economic, social, technological, and cultural systems developed within the society. (Fagan 2011) Today, the region the Maya inhabited receives an annual rainfall ranging from 500 millimeters to 4,000 millimeters during the months of May to December (Pringle 2009). When there was little rainfall o water during the rest of the 1
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year the Maya usually placed urban centers next to lakes, rivers, and other reservoirs and used advanced irrigation techniques to transport the water wherever need be. However, from several tests and data collections it appears that the time period of 800 to 1000 CE was the driest years of Holocene era. In 1995, geologist David Hodell (1995) of the University of Florida and his colleagues analyzed gypsum, a substance that accumulates as water evaporates in dry periods, from Lake Chichinacanab of the Yucatán Peninsula. He discovered that the driest stage of a 7000-year-long period was from 750
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Anthro 3 Final Essay - 1 Sapp Throughout history many...

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