Free Essay

Theories Behind the Disappearance of the Myan Cilization

In: Other Topics

Submitted By travisepling
Words 1215
Pages 5
Theories Behind the Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization

Travis Epling Prof. Aprile Castagna Cappuzzo
Introduction to Humanities
2 May 2014

Theories Behind the Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization There are many theories behind the decline of the Mayan Civilization. They range from over-population, war, famine, immigration, deforestation, climate change, and even aliens. When we say the disappearance of the Mayans we do not mean that the culture completely disappeared, we are talking about and extreme reduction in population. Tom Server believes as much as 90 to 95 percent of the population. Many of the major bustling cities of the Mayan Empire such as Tikal, Palenque, and Copan were simply abandoned for, what appears to be, no reason. Many of these theories have been debunked over time with the development of new science technology that allows for more thorough of investigations of these ancient civilizations. The first theory we will visit will be the affects of deforestation which also encompasses part of the climate change theory. NASA archaeologist, Tom Sever(2004) states that , “The Mayan civilization in Mesoamerica was one of the densest populations in human history”. He believes that the population during the height of the Mayan Empire would have been between 1800 and 2600 people per square mile. In 2000, the population density of Los Angeles was around 2300 for a comparison. The extreme amount of people living in the area would have put a strain on the natural resources of the area; water, usable land, trees, animals, etc. It would have pushed the limits of what the land could support. Based on Sever’s theory he believes that, in order to sustain the population not only did they have to clear land for living areas but also there would be a great need for land to cultivate enough food for everyone. This extreme clearing of trees coupled with an exceptionally long drought that occurred at this time would have essentially destroyed the land. There was already a scarcity of water and without vegetation to help retain the water in the soil it would dry out and be useless as farm land. Another factor increasing the rate of deforestation is how they built their temples and buildings. It is believed that to make a square meter of the stone used in their temples would have taken at least 20 trees to make a fire big enough and hot enough. With the amount of land needed for the population to live and farm and add in the amount of trees it would take to build their temples and buildings we can speculate on the high rate of deforestation. Bob Oglesby, a colleague of Sever’s and an atmospheric scientist calls this. “The granddaddy of all deforestation events.” With the disappearance of trees and the forest turning to grasslands, studies have shown that this may have potentially raised the ambient temperature 5 to 7 degrees Celsius. This would have increased the rate of evaporation and sped up the loss of valuable water that was already in short supply. No water and dry land would mean no food for these people and with the large population size any resources they would have had in storage would have been used up very quickly and would have lead to the downfall of the civilization. Another theory, which in a sense combines with the deforestation theory, is that there was an abnormally long drought in the area. Dr. Richard Gill, a banker, studied this theory and wrote a book called, “The Great Mayan Droughts: Water, Life, and Death.” In his book he makes the statement, “Sunny days, in and of themselves, don’t kill people. But when people run out of
Theories Behind the Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization food and water they die.” It is his belief that this abnormally long drought in and of itself is what lead to the demise of the Mayans.
Throughout years of research with the help of people like Dr. Fred Valdez, and archaeologist from the University of Texas and a team of scientist from the University of Florida, and pulling from resources such as colonial records from Spanish authorities in the Yucatan and meteorological papers he was able to conclusively prove that there was a major drought in the area that lasted at least 3 years. On his own he came up with the idea that a drought is what destroyed the Mayans and with the help of Dr. Valdez, he was able to conclude that the Mayans had amassed a huge population that died off very quickly. Many factors could explain this so he set out once again to find more evidence to support his theory. That is when he stumbled upon records from Spanish authorities in the Yucatan in which someone documented a horrible drought. They wrote, “'The crops had been very bad in the year 1795 - they were running out of grain and they were afraid that the terrible death they had seen so often in the past was going to repeat itself again, so they asked for help.” Once again this was more evidence to support his theory but at best it was still just circumstantial. He needed to find a way to prove an extreme shift in weather in the area. For this he started researching hundreds of meteorological documents. One in particular that helped was the “Dendrochronology.” It told of an extremely cold period of time in Northern Sweden during the time of the Mayan fall. He found through studying more meteorological documents from this time frame that an extreme high pressure system had moved from North American down into Central American. Once again he found more substantiating evidence that was, once again, circumstantial.
It wasn’t until he linked up with a team of Scientist from the University of Florida that he found what he was looking for. They were pulling core samples from Lake Chichancanab in the Yucatan region of Mexico. They discover through analyzing these samples that the ninth century was the driest period of time in this region in 7000 years. At last he had the proof he needed to substantiate his claim that a drought is what caused the fall of the Mayan civilization.
These are just a couple of the theories that try to explain the mystery behind the disappearance of such an advanced civilization. I believe that no one theory is correct. It is my opinion that they all work together to help us understand what happened. Massive population growth, depletion of natural resourced, different cities feuding with each other in an attempt to survive a hard time, and abnormally long drought, and I can even understand the killing of their leaders since it was their belief that if they fell out of favor with the gods they would be punished. I believe that this great civilization simply became to successful for their own good and all that they created an built essentially destroyed their environment and lead to their downfall.

Theories Behind the Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization
BBC History:
National Geographic News:
Earth Observatory:…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Behind the Smiles

...shine, shine Hey Stephen I could give you fifty reasons why I should be the one you choose All those other girls, well they`re beautiful but would they write a song for you Cause I can`t help it if you look like an angel Can`t help I if I wanna kiss you in te rain so Come feel this magic ive been feeling since I met you Can`t help it if there`s no one else I can`t help myself Cause I can`t help it if you look like an angel Can`t help I if I wanna kiss you in te rain so Come feel this magic ive been feeling since I met you Can`t help it if there`s no one else I can`t help myself Myself, can`t help myself I can`t help myself. I'm Only Me When I'm With You Friday night beneath the stars, in a field behind your yard, you and I are paintin` pictures in the sky. And sometimes we don`t say a thing; just listen to the crickets sing. Everything I need is right here by my side. And I know everything about you I don`t wanna live without you. [Chorus:] I`m only up when you`re not down. Don`t wanna fly if you`re still on the ground. It`s like no matter what I do. Well you drive me crazy half the time; the other half I`m only trying to let you know that what I feel is true. And I`m only me when I`m with you. Just a small town boy and girl livin` in a crazy world. Tryin` to figure out what is and isn`t true. And I don`t try to hide my tears. The secrets or my deepest fears. Through it all nobody gets me like you do. And you......

Words: 22158 - Pages: 89

Premium Essay

Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization

...| Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization | | | Jerome A Brown Jr. | 2/4/2013 | | No one can say for certain what happened to the Mayan people, but theories abound and include varied possible alternatives to explain the abrupt and mysterious disappearance of the Mayan civilization. Many historians have questioned “how” or “why” the Mayan civilization disappeared after the 10th century; however there is no definitive answer to this question. One possible theory is the Mayan’s civilization grew to such an extent that they deforested so much of the region that it had significant climate changes, thereby forcing the Mayan people to immigrate to other regions (Server, 2004), this theory has some scientific background, and scientists have used satellites to study the topsoil of Central America. They found that right before the civilization collapse, the sediment had changed from tree pollen to weed pollen, suggesting there were no more trees in the area. The result of a treeless environment is the erosion of fertile topsoil, warmer climate, and a possible reduction of precipitation. Since the Mayans depended on water reservoirs from precipitation, this would have had a detrimental effect. Another theory surrounding the disappearance of the Mayan people is consistent droughts that took place preceding the tenth century and the reduction of civilization through various wars caused the Mayan civilization to dwindle down to virtual......

Words: 324 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Disappearance of the Maya Civilizationi

...Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization Gladis Y. Romero Prof. Lowell Larry Pullen, Ph.D. HUM111 – World Cultures I Strayer University May 4, 2013 Abstract Maya Civilizations was truly remarkable. There is so much to learn from this Ancient society. Due to advance research, new clues have aroused about the disappearance of this magnificent empire. We now know they suffered a calamity, the mighty Maya; timekeepers of the universe, together with their centers of learning were vanished.  Their incredible achievements and legacy in astronomy, mathematics, Maya pottery and other Pre-Columbian art as well as monumental constructions in stone were obliterated.  All was reclaimed by nature.  Even their writing was forgotten in time.  Until very recent, the glyphs in stone and four surviving Maya manuscripts were considered a mystery. It is only recently with some scientific advancement that we are starting to decode what words were written and truly comprehend the excellence of their achievements, their great fall and disappearance. The Disaster and Warfare Theory are discussed, believing the Warfare Theory is the most plausible one. No one can say for certain what happened to the Mayan people, but theories abound and include varied possible alternatives to explain the abrupt and mysterious disappearance of the Mayan civilization. Minster’s (2013) Article explains the following: In 800 A.D., the Maya Empire consisted of a number of powerful city-states spreading from......

Words: 798 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Man Behind the Message

...Marshall McLuhan “The Man behind the message” A professor from Winnipeg, Marshall was one of the world’s most innovative thinkers. His theories about mass media turned him into a media guru. Arguably most famous for his quote “The medium is the message” Many would consider Marshall to be a brilliant man; others would say they don’t understand a word he is saying. I wonder how much thought his skeptics have put into what he had to say. I will agree that some of his theories are not clear at first but once dissected you begin to understand the man behind the message. “The message of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs. The railway did not introduce movement or transportation or wheel or road into human society, but it accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure. This happened whether the railway functioned in a tropical or northern environment, and is quite independent of the freight or content of the railway medium. (Understanding Media, NY, 1964, p. 8) What McLuhan writes about the railroad applies with equal validity to the media of print, television, computers and now the internet. “The medium is the message” because it is the “medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.” (E. McLuhan) Now, some may be thinking that they don’t understand the message of the preceding......

Words: 1347 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization

...    Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization The disappearance of the Mayan Civilization has always been a very interesting mystery to me. What happened to the Mayan people? This question has baffled many scientists, researchers, as well as historians since they disappeared of the face of the earth it seems. NASA-funded researchers believe that the Mayans themselves are responsible for their own extinction. The Mayans were supposedly a great culture that constructed pyramids and pavilions throughout Mesoamerica beginning around A.D.300 and disappearing around A.D. 900 (Harvey, D.A. 1977).     By around A.D. 900, the Mayan civilization was in steep decline. New building stopped and the pyramids and ball courts were gradually abandoned to the jungle. Around this time the lowland population dropped by around 90 percent. There has been a lot of debate about what caused the collapse of the classic-era Mayan culture. Research by Stuart and Harvey (1977) suggests that the burdens of ritual warfare between city-states became too much or that a great epidemic decimated the population.      Usually cultures will slowly become extinct as a result of numerous battles and many times from famine. However the Mayans simply disappeared as a culture. Researchers believe that Mayans were in harmony with their environment, but they made common mistakes as does most other cultures. Deforesting of the land and vegetation caused suffering for the Mayan people in that they could not find......

Words: 620 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Reasons Behind Csr

...r The ‘real’ reasons behind Corporate Social Responsibility Management Summary With this thesis I would like to contribute on the on-going CSR discussion. I attempt to investigate the real motives why multinational corporations engage in corporate social responsibility activities. The debate in CSR is nowadays still focused on the link between CSR and financial performance. Research lacks real proof of this link and corporations are failing in formulating a business case. So why is it that MNCs are willing to engage in CSR activities. In the following thesis I would like to give an answer on this question. Inhoudsopgave 1. Introduction 5 1.1 Research Purpose 6 1.2 Problem Statement 6 1.3 Sub questions 7 1.4 Structure 7 2. Theory 8 2.1 Definition CSR 8 2.2 Definition Multinational Corporation (MNC) 9 2.3 Theoretical Framework (Garigga & Mele (2004)) 10 2.3.1 Instrumental theories 10 2.3.2 Political theories 12 2.3.3 Integrative theories 13 2.3.4 Ethical theories 14 2.3.5 Propositions 16 3. Methods 18 3.1 Research approach 18 4. Results 19 4.1 Instrumental motive 20 4.2 Political motive 20 4.3 Integrative motive 21 4.4 Ethical motive 22 5. Conclusion & Recommendation 24 5.1 Conclusion 24 5.2 Limitations & Recommendation 27 6. References 28 1. Introduction Corporate social responsibility is becoming more and more important for companies. The last few years there is an increase of interest from......

Words: 10695 - Pages: 43

Premium Essay

The Theories and Practices Behind Organizational Change

...The Theories and Practices Behind Organizational Change Is real and permanent change truly as difficult to achieve as it is sometimes suggested to be? If so, what steps are necessary to properly introduce major changes within the context of an organization? Can an organization survive in today’s fast paced global economy without properly instituting regular changes in order to adapt to the very fluid market in which it resides? The Heart of Change by John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen attempts to address the answers to some of these fundamental questions and more by exploring what steps are necessary for organizations to make when undertaking change management processes. Motivational speaker Tony Robbins once said, “By changing nothing, nothing changes.” It is a very simple yet elegant statement about the nature of change. Never is it wise to simply live up to the status quo and expect that somehow, someway your situation will spontaneously improve itself. Change means taking immediate action in order to correct mistakes that have been made, or to improve upon already successful practices. The vast majority of today’s thriving organizations have realized this and have made change, adaptation, and flexibility key components to their business model. However, many organizations that attempt change are unsuccessful due to their lack of understanding about how change is properly implemented and maintained. For many organizations in our current economic climate, failure......

Words: 2457 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

The Understthe Understanding Behind Behaviorismanding Behind Behaviorism

...Behaviorism is associated with many scientists in the past and our current society today. Behaviorism is a learning theory based on the thought that all behavior attain when conditioned is considered behaviorism. Also, behaviorism is the scientific study of observable behavior. Behaviorism is more interested with behavior than with feeling or knowing. The main focus is the objective and observable components of behavior. The behaviorist theories all share some version of stimulus-response mechanisms for learning. Behaviorism originated with the work of John B. Watson, an American psychologist. Watson held the view that psychology should only concern itself with the study of behavior, and he was not concerned with the mind or with human consciousness. This paper will discuss the history behind behaviorism, the components of the theory, and how behaviorism develops new behavior. Behaviorism is conducted by stimuli and it decides to select one response instead of another due to the conditioning. It assume that the learner is passive and starts off with a clean slate. The behavior then goes threw and positive and negative reinforcement. Behaviorists study stimulus events that cause behavior to occur, stop occurring, or change in some way as a function of antecedents or consequences to behavior. Behavioral scientists recognize, however, that environmental events that affect behavior as antecedents or consequences often vary from person to person....

Words: 763 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Motive Behind the Murder

...The Motive behind the Murder Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado” describes Montresor’s deadly revenge against his friend Fortunato who he claims has insulted him. Since readers are unable to find the precise explanation of Montresor’s abhorrence of Fortunato, most of the readers conclude that Montresor is insane and unbalanced. However, this interpretation fails to explain the character of Montresor and goes against the intricate details of the plot. The short story’s emphasis on the elaborate murder shows Montresor’s sophisticated philosophy of revenge, which is “No one insults me with impunity”. The motive of his vengeance is because of Fortunato’s arrogance and his insulting Montresor, who is indeed equal or even superior to him. Since Fortunato can remember neither the coat of arms nor the motto of Montresor, it is logical to say that Fortunato comes from a less prominent family than Montresor. The conflict between Fortunato and Montresor arises from the sensation of incongruity between their current social standing and their right to prominence by virtue of their origin. Fortunato regards Montresor’s family as less prominent than his family because Montresor is not an active participant in the life of local aristocracy. When Fortunato noted how extensive the vaults are, Montresor tells him that he came from a great and enormous family. However, Fortunato cannot remember Montresor’s coat of arms and his family motto. At that time, the display of a......

Words: 1814 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

The Disappearance of Ancient Babylonian Civilization

...The disappearance of Ancient Babylonian civilization For over three thousand years ago, Ancient Babylon went up in smoke in a sudden, leaving a mystery for people around the world. Ancient Babylon used to be a strong kingdom that conquered a lot of lands and it is also famous for its amazingly beautiful “Hanging garden” and was regarded as a paradise. According to historical records, Ancient Babylon had such a spectacular landscape, therefore, the fact that Ancient Babylon disappeared seems to be fabulous. The reasons for the downfall of this kingdom can be summarized into three main aspects: the hostile environment, lack of morality and war. One reason for the disappearance of Ancient Babylonian civilization is the hostile environment. According to Smith (1924), “The natural environment of Ancient Babylon was extremely awful at that time, the exhausted hydro resources made the situation even worse.” (p.97). The environment became hostile because the governors did not have the conscious of sustainability. They developed agriculture at the cost of the environment and the nature paid back by yielding hostile climate that made people suffer. The hostile environment did influence the development of Ancient Babylon. However, the physical condition could not have significant effect on the kingdom, but people’s conscious as a whole and loyalty of Ancient Babylon directly accelerated the downfall of this kingdom. Lack of morality also contributed to the downfall of Ancient Babylon...

Words: 548 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Left Behind

...Left Behind Misty Dennis GEN499: General Education Capstone Leslie Ruff October 11, 2015 The heartache of losing someone dear to us is a pain that most of us will unfortunately experience at some point in our lives. Comforting someone who has lost a loved one is not an easy endeavor, as finding the right words to ease someone’s pain is no easy feat. Now, imagine comforting a mom or dad, sister or brother, spouse or child of someone who intentionally took their own life. Not only does the family and friends of the suicide victim feel the shock of loss, but also they may feel that they failed the victim in some way, did not see the signs, and feel guilt that they should have seen this coming. Coupled with their own guilt, they may also shoulder the burden of the guilt of others, as society places blame on the survivors for not helping the victim deal with emotional or physical problems that may have led to the ultimate untimely death. As healthcare providers, it is important to not place blame, and to help the survivors find a way to deal with the loss, as well as the guilt. It is imperative for the healthcare provider or clinician know how to react when faced with this situation, as their role could have a lasting impact on those that have been left behind. PROBLEM There are so many people these days taking their own lives. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention an American commits suicide every 12.95 minutes, and more than 1.5......

Words: 2414 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

The Disappearance of the Minoan Civilization

...The Disappearance of the Minoan Civilization Isaac Asimov once said that “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!), but “That's funny ...” and that seems to be how the mystery of the disappearance of the Minoan civilization was finally solved. The disappearance of the Minoan civilization has often been referred to as Plato’s Atlantis in his writings from Timaeus about the fabled city that was swallowed by the sea. Some argued that the Minoan demise came from the possible invasion by outside forces, such as the Myceneans. Others say that the Minoan city on the Isle of Crete that lie close to the volcano Thera on Santorini was devastated by its violent eruption that spewed more than 10 million tons of ash, gas, and rock 25 miles into the atmosphere. For more than five centuries speculations have abounded but the truth remained a mystery. Then in 1997 a young geologist analyzed a sample of earth that he had taken from the inland on the isle of Crete. The sample was taken from deep within the earth to capture numerous layers of sediment going back thousands of years. Dr. Dominey-Howes found what he was looking for but he also found more; along with the volcanic ash and palace ruins he found tiny fossilized shell that only lives in very deep sea water. That’s funny … how could these shells possibly have gotten so far inland from the deep sea? By investigating the evidence further to answer the......

Words: 569 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Criminal Acts and Choice Theory

... Criminal Acts and Choices “Choice theories state that the decision to commit (or refrain from) crime is an exercise of free will based on the offender’s efforts to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.” Choice theories are perspectives on crime causation that states that criminality is the aftermath of conscious choices made by people. There are four basic theories that are considered: Psychological positivism, biological, positivism, rational choice, and sociological positivism. These theories rely on logic to explain why people commit crimes and whether a criminal act is the result of a rational decision, internal predisposition or external aspects. A multitude of factors are considered to play roles in criminal activity. Social, political, and economic inequities, for instance, may create conflict within society. Human development, an absence of “normal” opportunities, failed self-direction, and inadequate social roles, association with defective individuals, or social organization and disorganization may also pave the road to criminal activity. Some theorists say that criminal behavior derives from psychobiological factors such as human DNA or hormones; others say inappropriate behavioral conditioning or a diseased mind contributes to criminal activity. Regardless of the reasons behind crime, this is a very real issue faced on a regular basis, all over the world (Criminological Theory, 2009). For most of the late eighteenth......

Words: 1030 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

The Disappearance of Childhood

...Initial Thread In lesson 3, the presenter discussed Neil Postman's article, "The Disappearance of Childhood". I agree that electronic media, such as television fails to show children in their place. Children are exhibiting various behaviors that do not represent God and what he wants for his people. The presentation states, according to Postman, "When literature disappears, education disappears. When education disappears, shame disappears." Children are no longer shameful of their actions, not because of be uneducated, it is because society accepts the behaviors and allows it to continue. Understanding the minds of the young will help one to be able to minister according to God's word. Raising children as if they are your own in the right direction will help our youth to be what they once were. Literature is very important for Christians and for everyone. Gaining insight on how to be a more spiritual person and even including spiritual literature in your daily lives in order to add more spirituality to one’s family can ensure that we bring the child back to childhood. Watching children act like and carry themselves as children is what Christians want to see. Children are our children’s role model and some want to reflect the ones that are seen. As a parent, I understand Postman’s point and by wanting to working the educational system, I know how easily influenced our children are. Bringing the importance back to literature in education is going to take a lot of......

Words: 571 - Pages: 3

Free Essay


...the Hypodermic Needle Theory and Uses and Gratification Theory. Hypodermic Needle Theory The "hypodermic needle theory" implied mass media had a direct, immediate and powerful effect on its audiences. The mass media in the 1940s and 1950s were perceived as a powerful influence on behavior change. The theory suggests that the mass media could influence a very large group of people directly and uniformly by ‘shooting’ or ‘injecting’ them with appropriate messages designed to trigger a desired response. Several factors contributed to this "strong effects" theory of communication, including: - the fast rise and popularization of radio and television - the emergence of the persuasion industries, such as advertising and propaganda - the Payne Fund studies of the 1930s, which focused on the impact of motion pictures on children, and - Hitler's monopolization of the mass media during WWII to unify the German public behind the Nazi party Uses and Gratification Theory explaining of media use Originated in the 1970s as a reaction to traditional mass communication research emphasizing the sender and the message. Stressing the active audience and user instead. Psychological orientation taking needs, motives and gratifications of media users as the main point of departure. Uses and gratification theory assumes an active audience, which chooses the text it consumes and where individuals have reasons for consuming these texts. Uses and gratifications theory attempts to......

Words: 359 - Pages: 2

Hunter X Hunter 256 | My Family Essay | Ray Collins