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UCSB Archaeologist Disputes Common Belief About Collapse of Maya Civilization
University of California, Santa Barbara ^ | December 9, 2009 | Journal of Ethnobiology UCSB, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara

Posted on 12/19/2009 7:43:25 PM PST by SunkenCiv

...Anabel Ford, an archaeologist at UC Santa Barbara and director of the university's MesoAmerican Research Center, suggests... that the forest gardens cultivated by the Maya demonstrate their great appreciation for the environment. Her findings are published in the current issue of the Journal of Ethnobiology in an article titled "Origins of the Maya Forest Garden: Maya Resource Management." ...The ancient Maya, who farmed without draft animals or plows, and had access only to stone tools and fire, followed what Ford calls the "milpa cycle." It is an ancient land use system by which a closed canopy forest is transformed into an open field for annual crops, then a managed orchard garden, and then a closed canopy forest again. The cycle covers a time period of 12 to 24 years. A misconception about the milpa cycle is that the fields lie fallow after several years of annual crop cultivation. "In reality, in the 'high-performance milpa,' fields are never abandoned, even when they are forested," Ford explains in the article. "The milpa cycle is a rotation of annuals with successive stages of forest perennials during which all phases receive careful human management.

(Excerpt) Read more at ia.ucsb.edu ...


TOPICS: History; Science; Travel
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; maya; mayans; slashandburn

1 posted on 12/19/2009 7:43:28 PM PST by SunkenCiv
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; 31R1O; ...

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Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Years ago a couple of neighbors were watching me work at backyard gardening (no, I don't have glaucoma) and the one I'd been trying to nail, the schoolteacher as it turned out, got around to saying what a tragedy slash-and-burn ag is. The other woman had literally grown up in the rain forest of Ecuador, and asked her what she was talking about. Bravo for life's random juxtapositions.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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2 posted on 12/19/2009 7:46:21 PM PST by SunkenCiv (My Sunday Feeling is that Nothing is easy. Goes for the rest of the week too.)
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To: SunkenCiv

I was under the impression, having read a good bit about it, that the Mayans used the ‘invade your neighbors and take them as slaves’ method. Except when they were sacrificed...


3 posted on 12/19/2009 7:47:02 PM PST by allmost
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To: SunkenCiv

I am now reading Colapse by Jared Diamond and he is a proponent of Man’s ecologiacal ruination of the world. This woman has a different perspective...cool


4 posted on 12/19/2009 7:49:41 PM PST by Chickensoup (We have the government we deserve.)
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To: SunkenCiv

The other woman had literally grown up in the rain forest of Ecuador, and asked her what she was talking about

So how did the rest of the conversation go?


5 posted on 12/19/2009 7:49:47 PM PST by Redcitizen (Zartan for President 2012)
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To: allmost

Perhaps I have become too skeptical, but for this article, which claims that “climate change” did in the Maya civilization, to come out the same time as Copenhagen, well, it stretches credulity a bit.


6 posted on 12/19/2009 7:53:20 PM PST by marktwain
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To: allmost

:’) They had continual wars and shifting alliances. Once in a while, some archrival would gather their forces, march in at night, catch another town by surprise, round up and kill the leadership via ritualistic torture, and leave a record of the slaughter, accounts that are just now being read (contrary to what was peddled in “National Treasure 2” — I’m not sure I’d mentioned today how much that movie sucked — Olmec writing, what there is of it, hasn’t quite been cracked, and it’s in the bag that it was never in use in North America, and wasn’t being read in the 19th century).


7 posted on 12/19/2009 7:53:29 PM PST by SunkenCiv (My Sunday Feeling is that Nothing is easy. Goes for the rest of the week too.)
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To: Redcitizen

Little Miss Transactional Analysis backed down in the face of the eyewitness. :’)


8 posted on 12/19/2009 7:55:17 PM PST by SunkenCiv (My Sunday Feeling is that Nothing is easy. Goes for the rest of the week too.)
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To: Chickensoup

:’)


9 posted on 12/19/2009 7:56:33 PM PST by SunkenCiv (My Sunday Feeling is that Nothing is easy. Goes for the rest of the week too.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Save the tree kill the people..

Sacrifice symbolized the renewal of the divine cosmic energy and the continuation of life. Its ability to do so is based on two intertwined concepts that are common to most Mesoamerican belief systems (in one form or another). The first is the notion that the gods had given life to mankind by sacrificing parts of their own bodies. The second is that blood, which often signified life among Maya belief systems, was partially made up of the blood of the gods (who sacrificed it and gave it to humans when creating life). Thus, to maintain order in their universe, the Maya, as well as most Mesoamerican groups, believed that blood and life had to be given back to the gods.

To the Mayans, the ritual of blood-letting was the most effective way to appease their gods to bring good luck or plentiful crops. An example of this can be seen in the limestone relief Shield Jaguar and Lady Xoc found in Mexico dated around 725 C.E. where Lady Xoc pierces her tongue with a thorny rope.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacrifice_in_Maya_culture


10 posted on 12/19/2009 7:59:59 PM PST by GSP.FAN (These are the times that try men's souls.)
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To: marktwain

The climate change was natural.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1337000/1337859.stm

Here’s the other view:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2233504/posts

similar:

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/columnist/vergano/2008-11-08-mayan-decline_N.htm

some other topics:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2104165/posts


11 posted on 12/19/2009 8:01:02 PM PST by SunkenCiv (My Sunday Feeling is that Nothing is easy. Goes for the rest of the week too.)
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To: SunkenCiv
The Olmecs fascinated me a few decades ago, and still do. i have no doubt the seeds of later civilization in the area would be traced back to them if more was known.
If your labor/culture is based on fighting, killing, enslaving, and sacrificing your neighbors. Even a small amount of ecological shift would destabilize that scenario. A homogeneous culture would leave pockets. This did not happen. Tiered societal rankings, the Earth's natural variations, and an unsustainable social structure. Damn... sounds like today's news...
12 posted on 12/19/2009 8:04:40 PM PST by allmost
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To: marktwain
The speculation has been there for years. The reality is that if it was climate change, modern pollutants did not, could not, cause it. I enjoy reading about mesoamerican and south American pre-columbian civilizations. The romanticism in recent years is sickening though. War, blood, and enslavement were the pillars of societal structure. Tedious and hard to maintain when slight changes occur.
13 posted on 12/19/2009 8:19:41 PM PST by allmost
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To: allmost
that the Mayans used the ‘invade your neighbors and take them as slaves’ method.

Who do you think pulled the plows?

14 posted on 12/19/2009 8:30:30 PM PST by UCANSEE2 (<I>)
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To: Chickensoup
Jared Diamond posed the question, What happened after the Easter islanders cut down the last tree?

He has been riding that same hobby horse ever since. A gallon of lemonade made with one lemon.

15 posted on 12/19/2009 8:35:34 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: allmost
Cradle of Chocolate?
by Roger Segelken
October 8, 1998
Digging through history to a time before agriculture, archaeologists from Cornell University and the University of California at Berkeley have found evidence of a village that was continuously occupied from 2000 B.C. to A.D. 1000 as well as hints to the secret of the community's remarkable longevity.

"My guess is, it all comes down to chocolate," says John S. Henderson, professor of anthropology at Cornell and co-director, together with Rosemary Joyce of Berkeley, of the archaeological dig at Puerto Escondido, Honduras. The type of ceremonial pottery uncovered by the archaeologists points to that region of Mesoamerica as a possible "Cradle of Chocolate."

16 posted on 12/19/2009 8:41:33 PM PST by SunkenCiv (My Sunday Feeling is that Nothing is easy. Goes for the rest of the week too.)
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To: SunkenCiv

30 years ago in Mexican East Coast we spent time with the Indians there. They took us to their gardens. Indeed, they were indistinguishable from the forest until you knew what to look for. Peppers and tomatoes were planted variously about in small openings from fallen trees. Tending the plants amounted to a couple of machete chops to keep back the wild vegetatian. It was cooler and moister than would have been in an open, cleared field.


17 posted on 12/19/2009 8:53:15 PM PST by Bhoy
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To: SunkenCiv
I've read they drank it unsweetened. Nasty. :)
18 posted on 12/19/2009 8:54:20 PM PST by allmost
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To: SunkenCiv

Attributing the lack of the use of draft animals to a love for the environment is stupid. Thats not evidence for motivation. Maybe they did not know HOW to use animals in that role?


19 posted on 12/19/2009 9:12:41 PM PST by GeronL
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To: allmost

who needs draft animals when you have slaves?


20 posted on 12/19/2009 9:13:21 PM PST by GeronL
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To: GeronL

The reason they never utilized draft animals was the fact that the wheel, yes the wheel, was never used on any scale in their society. Abundant slave labor probably created that fundamental technological retrogression. They were too busy invading, stealing from, killing their neighbors to invent much of anything.


21 posted on 12/19/2009 9:20:08 PM PST by allmost
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To: SunkenCiv

Didn’t we just read an article published here that the Mayan’s became a dwindling few and were attacked by their enemies?

They discovered this when they found a bunch of arrowheads (made by their enemies) in the Mayan living area.


22 posted on 12/19/2009 9:20:27 PM PST by Beowulf9
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To: marktwain

The sudden changes in weather can be devastating to a people or nation. Around 1300 A.D., there were three years of almost continuous rain that caused a ruinous famine in the British Isles. Crops sown in the soggy soil rotted, no food was harvested for three years and untold numbers of people died.

A good read on the effects of climate on civilizations is The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization, by Brian Fagan (he also wrote The Little Ice Age).


23 posted on 12/19/2009 9:34:07 PM PST by SatinDoll (NO Foreign Nationals as our President!!)
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To: allmost

There really weren’t any sufficiently large draft animals in the pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere, except for llamas and alpacas in South America. Those camelids were impratical in a tropical climate such as Central America, or for that matter, in the Amazon basin.

There is a reason why horses aren’t found in southern Africa before the white man settled there: the tropical, equitorial climate is a killer to horses.


24 posted on 12/19/2009 9:39:21 PM PST by SatinDoll (NO Foreign Nationals as our President!!)
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To: SatinDoll

They didn’t use the wheel. It helps human hands as well. They knew about it, but other objectives took priority.


25 posted on 12/19/2009 9:42:17 PM PST by allmost
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To: allmost

Never came up I guess.


26 posted on 12/19/2009 9:44:00 PM PST by GeronL
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To: GeronL

They either inherited or seized technology. I find the cultures fascinating but the recent year’s reporting disgustingly romanticized.


27 posted on 12/19/2009 9:47:15 PM PST by allmost
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To: SunkenCiv

She’s daydreaming, IMO. Crop rotations or fertilizations don’t require re-forestation. Some archeologists and other anthropologists—especially feminists—often tend to idealize and embellish about peoples of the distant past for lack of evidence for substantially informed debates. ...warrior women and the whole kooky paradigm.


28 posted on 12/19/2009 9:53:18 PM PST by familyop (cbt. engr. (cbt), NG, '89-' 96, Duncan Hunter or no-vote)
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To: Chickensoup

I was fascinated by Collapse until I discovered that Diamond has no trouble mixing truth with fantasy. I believe there is a book challenging his assertions directly although I don’t remember the title ( other than the word collapse is in it ).

Does megaselling scientist-historian Jared Diamond get the whole world right? http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2005/01/16/big_picture_guy?pg=full

Another Flaw in the Diamond
http://thinkmarkets.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/another-flaw-in-the-diamond/


29 posted on 12/20/2009 5:32:25 AM PST by TooBusy
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To: SunkenCiv
FWIW...

Possible Role of Climate in the Collapse of the Classic Maya Civilization

Drought may have done them in...?

30 posted on 12/20/2009 5:39:06 AM PST by mewzilla (Rick Santelli for Man of the Year!)
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To: mewzilla
Meanwhile...

The Maya collapse: When theoretical preconceptions get in the way of understanding

Bicker, bicker, bicker....

31 posted on 12/20/2009 5:46:52 AM PST by mewzilla (Rick Santelli for Man of the Year!)
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To: allmost
Actually it goes the other way.

With no large animals suitable for domestication as draft animals the wheel is largely useless.

32 posted on 12/20/2009 5:50:43 AM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (I miss the competent fiscal policy and flag waving patriotism of the Carter Administration)
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To: hinckley buzzard

I have been wondering about his credibility. He seems to sing one note. Doesnt seem to like Western Civ very much either, particularly Christians


33 posted on 12/20/2009 8:17:10 AM PST by Chickensoup (We have the government we deserve.)
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To: mewzilla
Thanks! I had a few files about it, got tired so I didn't post 'em. Also, I think FR has topics about it, but again, I wussed out and didn't look.
maya drought site:freerepublic.com
Google

34 posted on 12/20/2009 9:10:47 AM PST by SunkenCiv (My Sunday Feeling is that Nothing is easy. Goes for the rest of the week too.)
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To: GeronL

There was also a total lack of draft animals, and a surplus of human labor. The Maya tended to live pretty compact, had no water shortage (most of the time), and like most civilizations and cultures with stable food sources, had big families. The old-school l’arning I got was that archaeologists had shown a series of four or five population peaks in PreColumbian Central and South America, the last one being early 16th century — and Cortez arrived in 1520 with a small armed band and foreign diseases. :’)


35 posted on 12/20/2009 9:27:19 AM PST by SunkenCiv (My Sunday Feeling is that Nothing is easy. Goes for the rest of the week too.)
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To: Beowulf9

There’s an FR topic about it, probably early this year.


36 posted on 12/20/2009 9:27:39 AM PST by SunkenCiv (My Sunday Feeling is that Nothing is easy. Goes for the rest of the week too.)
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To: Bhoy

Smart!


37 posted on 12/20/2009 9:30:31 AM PST by SunkenCiv (My Sunday Feeling is that Nothing is easy. Goes for the rest of the week too.)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear
Wheelbarrow? Any slightly mechanized machine for textiles, wind mills, archimedean water pumps, etc. No draft animals involved. If they had the wheel, IMO, the initial contact would have been reversed.
38 posted on 12/20/2009 10:58:52 AM PST by allmost
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To: Redcitizen; SunkenCiv
So how did the rest of the conversation go?

I suspect rapid acceleration downhill.

I've had the holier than thou Libs 'inform' me of my 'errors' about subjects that I have experienced, and they have only been propagandized about. They have always fervently and tenaciously believed in their own ignorance.

In their minds propaganda and 'theory' trumps experience every time, which is why they still believe Socialism & Communism will work, if only given a 'real' chance.

39 posted on 12/20/2009 1:47:02 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (Islam: a Satanically Transmitted Disease, spread by unprotected intimate contact with the Koranus.)
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To: allmost
I've read they drank it unsweetened. Nasty. :)

And made it with water, not milk. Nastier yet. ;-')

40 posted on 12/20/2009 2:02:08 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (Islam: a Satanically Transmitted Disease, spread by unprotected intimate contact with the Koranus.)
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To: ApplegateRanch

A ‘memorable moment’. It’s good for you though...


41 posted on 12/20/2009 2:04:30 PM PST by allmost
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To: allmost

Anything you survive makes you tougher...but still, there are some things I would rather forego or even forget.


42 posted on 12/20/2009 2:08:42 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (Islam: a Satanically Transmitted Disease, spread by unprotected intimate contact with the Koranus.)
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To: ApplegateRanch

I keep taking it. I spend most of the aftermath giving.


43 posted on 12/20/2009 2:13:33 PM PST by allmost
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To: allmost
All of those things come long after you have wheeled carts pulled by draft animals. At least a couple of millenniums later.

No, the only thing that would have given the Native American population a fighting change would have been if they had domecicatable animals. With the lack of them on the American continents the population did not develop the same type of immunities to animal communicated diseases that were common in Europe, Asia and Africa.

It is almost impossible to resist an invader with 90% of your people dead.

44 posted on 12/20/2009 2:32:09 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (I miss the competent fiscal policy and flag waving patriotism of the Carter Administration)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

the wheel. I stand by that.


45 posted on 12/20/2009 2:37:46 PM PST by allmost
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

You have a viewpoint... I do not agree with.


46 posted on 12/20/2009 2:41:46 PM PST by allmost
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To: ApplegateRanch

“And made it with water, not milk. Nastier yet. ;-’)”

Don’t forget that they added chili peppers to it, as well. That would make it all right, according to some folks I once knew. ;)


47 posted on 12/22/2009 3:46:55 PM PST by Old Student (We have a name for the people who think indiscriminate killing is fine. They're called "The Bad Guys)
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