Ancient Maya Collapses and Renascences

Mediterranean Resilience - Collapse and Adaptation in Antique Maritime Societies - Assaf Yasur-Landau

Geoffrey E. Braswell [+-]
University of California, San Diego
Geoffrey Braswell earned his PhD in Anthropology at Tulane University. He has taught at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, the University at Buffalo, and UCSD. He has conducted field work at many ancient Maya sites including Chichen Itza, Copan, Pusilha, Lubaantun, Nim li Punit, and Kaminaljuyu. His interests include the inter-relationship of economic and political structures, culture and climate, and lithic technology. He has edited four books, has written more than 100 articles, and currently serves as editor of Latin American Antiquity, a flagship journal of the Society for American Archaeology.


The Classic Maya Collapse of AD 800 is a subject of great speculation as well as research. What is not widely appreciated is that this was but one of several cyclical collapses and cultural rebirths that took place in the rainforests of Mexico and Central America over a 2,600-year time span. Following Bárta's "laws," I argue that dramatic collapses—which are triggered very rapidly (perhaps by climate instability) and seem like punctuated events—are the result of long-term cultural processes. Moreover, the cyclical nature of growth, stability, and collapse appear to be inherent to ancient civilizations, and perhaps to our own.

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Braswell, Geoffrey. Ancient Maya Collapses and Renascences. Mediterranean Resilience - Collapse and Adaptation in Antique Maritime Societies. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Mar 2022. ISBN 9780000000000. Date accessed: 22 Oct 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41509. Mar 2022

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