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Megadrought and CollapseFrom Early Agriculture to Angkor$
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Harvey Weiss

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199329199

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199329199.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 June 2021

AD 750–1100 Climate Change and Critical Transitions in Classic Maya Sociopolitical Networks

AD 750–1100 Climate Change and Critical Transitions in Classic Maya Sociopolitical Networks

Chapter:
(p.205) Chapter 6 AD 750–1100 Climate Change and Critical Transitions in Classic Maya Sociopolitical Networks
Source:
Megadrought and Collapse
Author(s):

Douglas J. Kennett

David A. Hodell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199329199.003.0007

Multiple palaeoclimatic reconstructions point to a succession of major droughts in the Maya Lowlands between AD 750 and 1100 superimposed on a regional drying trend that itself was marked by considerable spatial and temporal variability. The longest and most severe regional droughts occurred between AD 800 and 900 and again between AD 1000 and 1100. Well-dated historical records carved on stone monuments from forty Classic Period civic-ceremonial centers reflect a dynamic sociopolitical landscape between AD 250 and 800 marked by a complex of antagonistic, diplomatic, lineage-based, and subordinate networks. Warfare between Maya polities increased between AD 600 and 800 within the context of population expansion and long-term environmental degradation exacerbated by increasing drought. Nevertheless, in spite of the clear effects of drought on network collapse during the Classic Period, one lingering question is why polities in the northern lowlands persisted and even flourished between AD 800 and 1000 (Puuc Maya and Chichén Itzá) before they too fragmented during an extended and severe regional drought between AD 1000 and 1100. Here we review available regional climate records during this critical transition and consider the different sociopolitical trajectories in the South/Central versus Northern Maya lowlands.

Keywords:   Maya Collapse, Maya Classic Period, ad 800-1000 Mesoamerica, Maya sociopolitical networks, Mesoamerican paleoclimate, Maya Lowlands drought

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