The Classic Maya Collapse

David Webster

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Classic Maya Collapse

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This article discusses the collapse of the Classic Mayan civilization of southern and eastern Mesoamerica. Archaeologists now commonly recognize that there are several dimensions to this general collapse: the disappearance of royal dynasties and their ideological underpinnings; the dissolution of larger sociopolitical patterns, most importantly the disappearance of nonroyal elites; and a demographic collapse that greatly reduced populations or eliminated them altogether. All these things were once commonly assumed to be closely linked, but it is increasingly evident that each one must be treated independently.

Keywords: ancient Maya; Mayan civilization; Classic period; royal dynasties; demographic collapse

Article.  4455 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; Historical Archaeology

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