Exploring ancient mysteries



Collapse of Mayan civilization

Mayan civilization was the most advanced human society in thepre-Columbian era. It had a well-developed system of writing,mathematics, astronomy, art and architecture, in addition to socialand political structures. Between the 8th and 9thcentury, something happened, which led to the decline and collapse ofthe civilization. The reasons for the great ancient Mayan culturedownfall are unknown. However, several theories have been proposed toexplain what happened (Bley, 2011). One of these theories has beenthe foreign invasion theory. It was suggested by archeologists, whoargued that there is evidence that the society could have beeninvaded by foreigners, resulting in a destruction of the structuresthat supported it. Another theory, which has been promoted byscientists from different disciplines, argues that a mega-droughtcould have wiped out the flourishing society. Decline in soilfertility and degradation of the environment may have causeddevastating famine in the region (Bley, 2011).

The drought theory gives a more plausible argument because it issupported by scientific explanations and evidences. Scholars believethat in the 8th and 9th centuries, the Mayansociety exhausted and degraded all the natural resources. The forestswere cleared, soil fertility declined, and surface water dried up.Scientists have used advanced models and historical data on weatherand climates in the northern hemisphere and the Mesoamerica toexplain the phenomenon (Dauglas et al., 2015). The premise isconvincing because it can be used to expound on other theories. Forexample, the decline in resources due to climate change could haveresulted in conflicts. Also, it could have disrupted the social andpolitical powers in the Mayan civilization resulting in its decline(Bley, 2011).


Bley, B. (2011). The Ancient Maya and Their City of Tulum:Uncovering the Mysteries of an Ancient Civilization and Their City ofGrandeur. Bloomington,IN: iUniverse.

Dauglas, P. et al. (2015). Drought, agricultural adaptation, andsociopolitical collapse in the Maya Lowlands. Proceedings of theNational Academy of Sciences, 112(18), 5607-12.