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6223 - A Tale of Two Collapses: Evaluating Paleoclimate Models of Maya Collapse

An expanding array of data is becoming available on past climate changes affecting the Maya Lowlands region. We examine the strengths and weaknesses of these data sets, both in terms of identifying general trends and specific events. We then use these data to develop a model based on adaptive cycles that addresses both environmental and cultural changes that occurred in the Terminal Preclassic and the Terminal Classic periods in several areas of the Maya Lowlands. In particular, we compare the variable experiences and trajectories of groups of ancient communities located in the elevated interior region with others situated on lower elevation coastal plains. In general, communities in lower elevation areas proved more resilient to environmental and cultural perturbations than those in the higher elevation interior. Individual cases studies prove as illustrative and general trends. W e outline vulnerabilities, risk spirals, and resilience among these communities.

Keywords: Maya, Collapse, Paleoclimate, Geoarchaeology

Author: Dunning, Nicholas (University of Cincinnati, Ud States of Am / USA)

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