Xunantanich Mayan temple, capital of the post classic more modern Mayan Empire built about 1200 years ago and abandoned around 900 AD. The two Mayan temples are favorites of exploring tourists in things Mayan and well maintained by the Government of Belize, in their remoteness
Every civilization has its rise and fall. But no culture has fallen quite like the Maya Empire, seemingly swallowed by the jungle after centuries of urban, cultural, intellectual, and agricultural evolution. What went wrong?
The latest discoveries point not to a cataclysmic eruption, quake, or plague but rather to climate change. And faced with the fallout, one expert says, the Maya may have packed up and gone to the beach.
Throughout global history, he said, "rarely can you find a large sustained population that just left and never came back," Turner said. The closest analogue he can think of is the sudden, and final, abandonment of Cambodia's Angkor Wat complex in the 15th century.
Turner's study concludes that the natural environment recovered rather quickly after the dry centuries. Why, then, didn't the Maya reclaim their glorious cities?
Turner points to the coasts. Fleeing starving, warring inland cities, many Maya made a beeline for the shore. Trade also shifted, from overland paths to coastal routes, he suggests.
With life relatively comfortable on the coast, the inland Mayan cities may have simply been forgotten. No catastrophic earthquake, no plague, no curse, but rather a gradual migration to the beach, where life was a bit mellower.
The Maya were undoubtedly among the great ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica. Then, in almost an instant, a society of some 15 million people imploded. What caused their collapse? The answer, say researchers, is climate change.
Mayan Culture & The Ancient Maya in Belize - Within the 365-acre reserve at Chaa Creek, there are over 50 mounds of Mayan Temples and structures constructed over 1,000 years ago. The ancient Mayan civilization is part of Belize’s rich culture.
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