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9432Ma: Response to Response on Drought and the Maya Collapse

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  • Martin Peach
    Jan 22, 2003
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      Jerry Ek wrote:

      "The population expansion that is very well documented in the
      archaeological data from the Puuc region contradicts any model of
      migrations for the purpose of accessing ground water aquifers.
      The Puuc region is a series of hills located high above the water
      table, making the use of underground water sources (for any
      purpose, much less irrigation), impossible."

      --Perhaps the hills were defendable places in which to construct
      reservoirs for the collection of rainwater. Caves seem to have
      played an important role in Maya culture, they often contain
      pools of water and intermittent streams, and are not uncommon in
      hilly limestone terrain such as the Puuc.

      "If the eighth century was a period of widespread draught, it
      would seem very odd that centers in the Puuc (which relied on
      very unstable rainwater resources), would be flourishing at this
      time. This is part of a general trend of population expansion
      during the Terminal Classic/Early Postclassic in Yucatan, which
      is the driest part of the Maya area. Pushing this drought
      back to the 8th century does not put the model in accordance with
      the archaeological data, especially when one considers the new
      chronologies being proposed in Yucatan that are pushing back the
      periods of expansion at sites like Chichen."

      --I suggest that a general crisis of confidence slowly set in
      after the almanacs which had previously been able to predict the
      weather with better than chance accuracy (due to their empirically
      determined 52 year cycle) had obviously stopped working, resulting
      in a decline of the authority of the elite and descent into tribal
      warfare, accompanied by a retreat into hill forts for security,
      which then gives rise to the illusion af a population increase, as
      the number of house mounds goes up near established sites known
      to archaeologists while it declines in the unexplored (and by now
      remodelled by more recent farmers) bushland away from the pyramids
      and stelae. I don't dispute that in the longer term this may have
      been a good thing for the city states that survived the drought,
      as the concentration of population would have enabled more
      elaborate cultural activity to take place beyond simple survival


      Copyright � AZTLAN <AZTLAN@...> 2002.
      All rights reserved.
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