Sunday, December 23, 2012

Water and civilization

Water and civilization were vitally connected in ancient Mesoamerica. Archaeologist and specialist in pre-industrial land and water usage practices, Vernon Scarborough, believes water management and access were critical to the development of Maya civilization.[32] HP Compaq 491278-001 Battery

Critics of the drought theory wonder why the southern and central lowland cities were abandoned and the northern cities like Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Cobacontinued to thrive.[33] One critic argued that Chichen Itza revamped its political, military, religious, and economic institutions away from powerful lords or kings.[34] HP Compaq 491279-001 Battery

Inhabitants of the northern Yucatán also had access to seafood, which might have explained the survival of Chichen Itza and Mayapan, cities away from the coast but within reach of coastal food supplies.[35] Critics of the drought theory also point to current weather patterns: much heavier rainfall in the southern lowlands compared to the lighter amount of rain in the northern Yucatán. HP Compaq 491654-001 Battery

Drought theory supporters state that the entire regional climate changed, including the amount of rainfall, so that modern rainfall patterns are not indicative of rainfall from AD 800 to 900. LSU archaeologist Heather McKillop found a significant rise in sea level along the coast nearest the southern Maya lowlands, coinciding with the end of the Classic period, and indicating climate change.HP Compaq 491657-001 Battery

David Webster, a critic of the megadrought theory says that much of the evidence provided by Gill comes from the northern Yucatán and not the Southern part of the peninsula, where Classic Maya civilization flourished. He also states that if water sources were to have dried up, then several city-states would have moved to other water sources. HP Compaq 496897-001 Battery

The fact that Gill suggests that all water in the region would have dried up and destroyed Maya civilization is a stretch, according to Webster.[37]

A study published in Science in 2012 found that modest rainfall reductions, that amount to only 25 to 40 per cent in annual rainfall, may have been the tipping point to the Mayan collapse. HP Compaq 500764-001 Battery

Based on samples of lake and cave sediments in the areas surrounding major Mayan cities, the researchers were able to determine the amount of annual rainfall in the region. The mild droughts that took place between AD 800-950 were enough to rapidly deplete seasonal water supplies in the Yucatán lowlands, where there are no rivers. HP Compaq 500765-001 Battery

Some ecological theories of Maya decline focus on the worsening agricultural and resource conditions in the late Classic period. It was originally thought that the majority of Maya agriculture was dependent on a simple slash-and-burn system. Based on this method, the hypothesis of soil exhaustion was advanced by Orator F. Cook in 1921. HP Compaq 501870-001 Battery

Similar soil exhaustion assumptions are associated with erosion, intensive agricultural, and savanna grass competition.

More recent investigations have shown a complicated variety of intensive agricultural techniques utilized by the Maya, explaining the high population of the Classic Maya polities. HP Compaq 513129-121 Battery

Modern archaeologists now comprehend the sophisticated intensive and productive agricultural techniques of the ancient Maya, and several of the Maya agricultural methods have not yet been reproduced. Intensive agricultural methods were developed and utilized by all the Mesoamerican cultures to boost their food production and give them a competitive advantage over less skillful peoples. HP Compaq 513129-141 Battery

These intensive agricultural methods included canals, terracing, raised fields, ridged fields, chinampas, the use of human faeces as fertilizer, seasonal swamps or bajos, using muck from the bajos to create fertile fields, dikes, dams, irrigation, water reservoirs, several types of water storage systems, hydraulic systems, swamp reclamation, HP Compaq 513129-421 Battery

swidden systems, and other agricultural techniques which have not yet been fully comprehended.[42] Systemic ecological collapse is said to be evidenced by deforestation, siltation, and the decline of biological diversity. HP Compaq 532497-221 Battery

In addition to mountainous terrain, Mesoamericans successfully exploited the very problematic tropical rainforest for 1,500 years.[43] The agricultural techniques utilized by the Maya were entirely dependent upon ample supplies of water. The Maya thrived in what to most peoples would be uninhabitable territory. Their success over two millennia in this environment was "amazing." HP Compaq 532497-241 Battery

Anthropologist Joseph Tainter wrote extensively about the collapse of the Southern Lowland Maya in his 1988 study, The Collapse of Complex Societies. His theory about Mayan collapse encompasses some of the above explanations, but focuses specifically on the development of and the declining marginal returns from the increasing social complexity of the competing Mayan city-states. HP Compaq 532497-421 Battery

During the succeeding Postclassic period (from the 10th to the early 16th century), development in the northern centers persisted, characterized by an increasing diversity of external influences. The Maya cities of the northern lowlands in Yucatán continued to flourish for centuries more; some of the important sites in this era were Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Edzná, and Coba. HP Compaq 572186-001 Battery

After the decline of the ruling dynasties of Chichen and Uxmal, Mayapan ruled all of Yucatán until a revolt in 1450. (This city's name may be the source of the word "Maya", which had a more geographically restricted meaning in Yucatec and colonial Spanish and only grew to its current meaning in the 19th and 20th centuries). HP Compaq 572187-001 Battery

The area then degenerated into competing city-states until Yucatán was conquered by the Spanish.

The Itza Maya, Ko'woj, and Yalain groups of Central Peten survived the "Classic Period Collapse" in small numbers and by 1250 reconstituted themselves to form competing city-states. The Itza maintained their capital at Tayasal (also known as Noh Petén), HP Compaq 572188-001 Battery

an archaeological site thought to underlay the modern city ofFlores, Guatemala on Lake Petén Itzá. It ruled over an area extending across the Peten Lakes region, encompassing the community of Eckixil on Lake Quexil. The Ko'woj had their capital at Zacpeten. Postclassic Maya states also continued to survive in the southern highlands. HP Compaq 572189-001 Battery

One of the Maya nations in this area, theK'iche' Kingdom of Q'umarkaj, is responsible for the best-known Maya work of historiography and mythology, the Popol Vuh. Other highland kingdoms included theMam based at Huehuetenango, the Kaqchikels based at Iximche, the Chajoma based at Mixco Viejo[21] and the Chuj, based at San Mateo Ixtatán. HP Compaq 572190-001 Battery

Shortly after their first expeditions to the region, the Spanish initiated a number of attempts to subjugate the Maya who were hostile towards the Spanish crown and establish a colonial presence in the Maya territories of the Yucatán Peninsula and the Guatemalan highlands. HP Compaq 572191-001 Battery

This campaign, sometimes termed "The Spanish Conquest of Yucatán", would prove to be a lengthy and dangerous exercise for the conquistadores from the outset, and it would take some 170 years and tens of thousands of Indian auxiliaries before the Spanish established substantive control over all Maya lands. HP Compaq 583256-001 Battery

Unlike the Aztec and Inca Empires, there was no single Maya political center that, once overthrown, would hasten the end of collective resistance from the indigenous peoples. Instead, the conquistador forces needed to subdue the numerous independent Maya polities almost one by one, many of which kept up a fierce resistance. HP Compaq 586031-001 Battery

Most of the conquistadors were motivated by the prospects of the great wealth to be had from the seizure of precious metal resources such as gold orsilver; however, the Maya lands themselves were poor in these resources. This would become another factor in forestalling Spanish designs of conquest, as they instead were initially attracted to the reports of great riches in central Mexico or Peru. HP Compaq 6530B Battery

The Spanish Church and government officials destroyed Maya texts and with them the knowledge of Maya writing, but by chance three of the pre-Columbian booksdated to the post classic period have been preserved.[which?][22] These are known as the Madrid Codex, The Dresden Codex and the Paris Codex. HP Compaq 6535B Battery

The last Maya states, the Itza polity of Tayasal and the Ko'woj city of Zacpeten, were continuously occupied and remained independent of the Spanish until late in the 17th century. They were finally subdued by the Spanish in 1697.

A typical Classic Maya polity was a small hierarchical state (ajawilajawlel, or ajawlil) headed by a hereditary ruler known as an ajaw (later k’uhul ajaw). HP Compaq 6730B Battery

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