Essay Example on Summary of the Mystery One of the unsolved archaeological Mysteries









Summary of the Mystery One of the unsolved archaeological mysteries is the collapse of the Classic Maya Civilization In archeology this has been referred to as the Maya Collapse The fall of this civilization and the abandonment of the Maya cities in the lowlands of Mesoamerica happened between 8th and 9th century just at the decline of the Maya Period Demarest 2004 Most of the ideas that explain the downfall of this civilization are speculations and theories The desire to know how this great culture at the time disappeared remains to be a quest that the anthropologists are undertaking Since the evidence that explains the collapse is not there most of the clues are found from the wall paintings the pottery and some of the writings that look like the hieroglyphs Even though it has been difficult for scholars to connect these ancient cultures due to lack of enough evidence most modern discoveries have indicated that the civilization was terrific According to the civilization was very outstanding and it is believed that the civilization was very advanced compared to the time and period that it existed Still there is scanty information that can explain the culture and thinks of the Maya people Furthermore there is evidence that the 

Maya people were equipped with superior skills in astronomy and mathematics The proof of this is seen in the way they related the night skies to their calendar As it has been seen these people must have valued this information even though it is not easier to predict the reasons why Consequently what makes the incident more of a mystery is that earlier in the pre classic Maya a similar collapse was experienced in the 2nd Century Demarest 2004 Many theories have been put across by scholars to explain the failure This discourse examines the Epidemic disease theory and the foreign inversion theory The Two Scholarly Theories A widespread epidemic is a factor that should be put into consideration when looking t what might have caused the collapse of the Maya civilization The disease must have killed people in huge numbers The first theory to look at as such is the epidemic theory that has been forwarded by Lockers 1928 He explains that the decline of the Maya Civilization must have been as a result of Yellow fever This disease according to Demarest 2004 was an epidemic that spread due to its infectious nature Some scholars have claimed that the disease was yellow fever that led to the massive loss of lives and perhaps the disappearance of the inhabitants who might have fled Furthermore it is also accounted that the Maya being people who did agriculture they must have disturbed the environment and this facilitated the smooth spread of the parasite that caused a disease that killed them in large numbers 

The second theory is the ecological theory that is proposed by environmentalists like Cook since 1920s In this argument Cook argues that milpa agriculture resulted in the degradation of the soil the herbs and caused proliferation Linden 2006 Later in 1962 Sanders another scholar added to this theory by explaining that slash and burns that was a method used by the Maya people were responsible for the collapse because it rapidly affected the ecosystem Linden 2006 These factors therefore eroded the Maya lands and hence the decline Some other experts have also added that there were pervasive agricultural techniques that must have also contributed to the fall of this civilization As predicted agriculture if done in excess can lead to depletion of the environment and hence desertification Linden 2006 Furthermore the farming must have depended on a lot of water and that excess water supply for agriculture further catalyzed desertification The More Plausible Theory When these two theories are paralleled the environmental argument may seem to explain the collapse of a civilization since other civilizations have been destroyed as a result of desertification Even so in the case of the Maya the central question is the disappearance of the people Demarest 2004 Furthermore is the civilization was as advanced as revealed by the archaeological findings then the people might have thought of a way to solve the problem of desertification This then makes the theory questionable and unlikely Finally desertification that causes hunger and drought may not lead to massive loss of lives Hence something must have happened that must have swept the population in large numbers Consequently the disease epidemic theory comes from an approach that can explain the massive loss of lives Demarest 2004 has also supported this argument by stating that the epidemic disease theory is the most plausible theory of these two discussed herein 

First of all it is a more straightforward explanation and that which can be verified or be defended by facts According to Demarest 2004 there are many parasites in the region and it is therefore believed that even if it were not yellow fever found in money and bats then any other disease would have led to the decline The Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes Demarest 2004 Diarrhea has also been proposed as another possible disease that had the capability of taking down the population that rapidly Therefore the epidemic disease theory is a more plausible theory Reference Demarest A A 2004 Ancient Maya The rise and fall of a rainforest civilization Cambridge u a Cambridge Univ Press Linden E 2006 The Winds of Change Climate Weather and the Destruction of Civilizations Simon Schuster New York U S A

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