The Fall of the Ancient Maya: Solving the Mystery of the Maya Collapse

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Thames & Hudson, 2002 - History - 368 pages
Ancient Maya civilization thrived in the tropics of Central America for more than a thousand years and produced some of the world’s finest architecture and art. Then it mysteriously vanished, leaving a landscape of ruins smothered by forests - one of the great enigmas of history that has intrigued scholars for generations. Drawing upon recent archaeology and hieroglyphic decipherments, David Webster evaluates the theories and dispels the myths surrounding this contentious topic. Contrary to popular belief, not all Maya centres were abandoned, yet the Maya of the southern Lowlands did suffer a calamitous decline - monuments were no longer carved, royal buildings ceased to be constructed or maintained and whole populations dwindled or simply moved away. Writing in a personal, engaging style, Professor Webster makes full use of his own and colleagues’ latest discoveries at sites such as Copan, Tikal, Dos Pilas and Piedras Negras to reveal the subtle complexity and variety of the collapse across the Maya world, enhanced by illuminating cross-cultural comparisons.

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The fall of the ancient Maya: solving the mystery of the Maya collapse

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The mystique of the ancient Maya dates from the early 19th century, when explorers in Central America rediscovered temple and palace complexes, astronomical observatories, and monuments with ... Read full review

About the author (2002)

David Kenyon Webster worked as a reporter and writer after the war. The Saturday Evening Post published a portion of his memoir, but book publishers rejected his manuscript, seeking sensationalized novels of the war rather than authentic memoirs. He died in 1961 in a boating accident while shark fishing.

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