The Mayan collapse

In 1931, two American archaeologists proposed a hypothesis according to which Mayan civilization had disappeared due to climate change and drought. The Gann and Thompson Theory soon became very popular, perhaps aided by the terrible drought then ravaging the U.S. Midwest and the pessimistic atmosphere of the Great Depression.

Although developed amid a jungle, the Mayan civilisation depended on a seasonal cycle of rainfall and lacked other permanent water sources.

Today, experts still discuss the importance of climate change in the disappearance of the Mayas and their relationship with other variables; but climate change and in particular prolonged or permanent drought have become a recurrent explanation for the ending of many civilisations and historical periods worldwide, as in the final crises of the civilisations of the Indus, the Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean or the Moche pre-Inca culture in what is now Peru.


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