Classic Maya Collapse: An Alternative View

  • Anabel FordEmail author
Living reference work entry

Introduction to the Maya Collapse

The standard narrative of the Maya civilization is that they overpopulated their landscape and, to feed their populace, they had to expand their agricultural fields, causing deforestation, erosion, and their demise. It is proposed that the land use practices of the Maya brought them over the tipping point, undermining their prosperity and resulting in the breakdown of their civilization (Diamond 2005; Webster 2002). Related conditions that are proposed to have exacerbated the inevitability of collapse prominently include drought in addition to epidemics, interruption of trade, and invasions that overtaxed the population’s relationship to their landscape (Webster 2002). It is a popular notion that they disappeared.

Not until the nineteenth century was there general notice of the ancient remains of past glory, beginning with Stephens and Catherwood’s masterful account and folios telling of towering temples and remarkable carvings deep in the Central...
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Exploring Solutions Past – The Maya Forest Alliance; ISBER/MesoAmerican Research CenterUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Uzma Z. Rizvi
    • 1
  1. 1.Brooklyn CampusPratt InstituteBrooklynUSA