Skip to comments.UCSB Archaeologist Disputes Common Belief About Collapse of Maya Civilization
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 ...
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.
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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...
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
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?
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.
:’) 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).
Little Miss Transactional Analysis backed down in the face of the eyewitness. :’)
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.
The climate change was natural.
Here’s the other view:
some other topics:
Who do you think pulled the plows?
He has been riding that same hobby horse ever since. A gallon of lemonade made with one lemon.
Cradle of Chocolate?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.
by Roger Segelken
October 8, 1998
"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."
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.
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?
who needs draft animals when you have slaves?
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.
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.
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).
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.
They didn’t use the wheel. It helps human hands as well. They knew about it, but other objectives took priority.
Never came up I guess.
They either inherited or seized technology. I find the cultures fascinating but the recent year’s reporting disgustingly romanticized.
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.
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
Drought may have done them in...?
Bicker, bicker, bicker....
With no large animals suitable for domestication as draft animals the wheel is largely useless.
I have been wondering about his credibility. He seems to sing one note. Doesnt seem to like Western Civ very much either, particularly Christians
maya drought site:freerepublic.com
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. :’)
There’s an FR topic about it, probably early this year.
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.
And made it with water, not milk. Nastier yet. ;-')
A ‘memorable moment’. It’s good for you though...
Anything you survive makes you tougher...but still, there are some things I would rather forego or even forget.
I keep taking it. I spend most of the aftermath giving.
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.
the wheel. I stand by that.
You have a viewpoint... I do not agree with.
“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. ;)