News FocusArchaeology

A New Look at the Mayas' End

Science  24 Apr 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5926, pp. 454-456
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_454

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Summary

Climate researchers have fingered drought in the collapse of the great Maya civilization, but many archaeologists say it doesn't fit their data. New studies, several of which are being presented at the Society for American Archaeology meeting this week, suggest productive ways out of this impasse. Researchers are using novel paleoclimatic indicators tied closely to specific archaeological sites to see just what ancient Maya experienced; others are modeling the climatic impact of deforestation. These efforts show a new willingness among archaeologists to work hand-in-glove with paleoclimatologists.