Photo: Mayans May Have Died from Drought
According to a study from Science Journal, the abandonment of the Mayan civilizations may have occurred as a result of a lack of rain. According to experts, Martín Medina-Elizalde and Eelco Rohling, the areas of Belize, Guatemala and the Yucatan region in México suffered a 40% drop in rainfall from 800 AD – 1,000 AD. The rainfall in the area has been estimated by studying lake and cave sediments.
The Maya Kings are known to have built their empire from 300 AD – 900 AD in the Yucatan area of México as well as throughout Central America. Yet, their numerous forgotten cities, such as Tikal, have led many archaeologists to ponder the cause for their abandonments. Many such scientists have hypothesized that warfare, drought, or even depleted soil could have forced the Kings to disperse and abandon their cities.
According to University of Illinois archaeologist, Lisa Lucero, “This paper is important because it further bolsters the hypothesis that climate change, in the form of several multi-year droughts, played a role in the demise of Maya kings. The challenge always is in how one applies cold hard facts to explaining human stories of the past. While mono-causal explanations are passé, there is little doubt that changing climate set in motions a series of events that resulted in Kings disappearing, eventually followed by many farmers leaving the southern Maya lowlands and heading out in all four directions.”