THE MAYA MYSTERY.
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Research in 2001 by University of Florida peleoclimatologists, consisting of analysis from the bottom of Lake Punta Laguna has shown that the region's generally wet conditions were interspersed with periods of dryness. These occurred around 250, 585, and 800 — the latter event was especially long, into the eleventh century. These dates correspond to period where little Maya development is observed in the surviving arts and architecture.
The Maya required massive amounts of wood to fuel the fires that cooked the lime plaster they used to build their elaborate constructions—experts estimate it would have taken 20 trees to produce a single square meter of cityscape.
Newly deciphered stone carvings clearly indicate that the Maya warred frequently and viciously among themselves. City-states such as Dos Pilas, Tikal, Copán and Quirigua went to war with one another quite often.
Hieroglyphs in the area reveal that Tikal and Calakmul, were bitter rivals for centuries. Skirmishes between the kings of each city grew increasingly violent, prompting both to build alliances with other cities via raids, conquest, and royal coups. But, as more and more cities got involved, the warfare spread.
Maya War Theory
Maya War Theory
Clues to the Maya collapse can be found at Copán, a Maya site in western Honduras.
Recently scientists discovered a distinct beige clay mineral in ruined canals at Guatemala's Tikal archaeological site—once the largest city of the southern Maya lowlands. The mineral, a type of smectite, derives only from the breakdown of volcanic ash.
Maya had completely transformed the land on which they lived by turning jungles into a vast area of plains filled with cities, farms, and an ever-growing population. In fact, settlements around centers like Tikal reached more than half the population density of modern-day New York City.