Mayan Collapse

Archaeologists have uncovered the patterns that led up to the two major collapses of the Mayan civilization, revealing how warfare and instability ultimately led to the abandonment of entire city centers.

Radiocarbon dating has allowed researchers to more precisely pinpoint when population sizes and construction fluctuated at Ceibal, an archaeological site in Guatemala.

The analysis has revealed complex patterns of political crisis and recovery before each collapse, suggesting each event happened in waves.


In recent years, it’s become known that there were two major collapses, known as the Classic Maya collapse in the ninth century AD and the Preclassic collapse in the second century AD.

In the new study, the researchers found that these two events followed similar trajectories leading up to their demise.

Each happened in waves, beginning with smaller events tied to warfare and political instability.

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