Fall of the Mayan Empire- Water

Discussions unearthing human history including cultural anthropology, linguistics, etc.

Fall of the Mayan Empire- Water

Postby zetreque on June 10th, 2016, 5:43 pm 

Like most things, there is probably no one smoking gun that lead to the fall of the Mayan empire. I had a new thought though, which I'm sure has already been thought before about what might have been one of the main causes of the fall.

The Yucatan is really flat. That means there are no rivers of moving water. Their main source of water is underground cenote's and rain collection. They worshiped water.

Some evidence shows that as they cut down so much of their forest, it was one reason there was a drought/less rainfall.

Thinking how millions of people are tramping around the flat areas without running water and most likely lack of sanitation along with lots of sacrifices to their cenote's and drinking sources could lead to a epidemiological nightmare. Any diseases happening and it seems not to far off to think that water supplies can be contaminated pretty easy in that situation. Since they were in decline before the Spanish came, their water situation is likely another major source of disease.
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Re: Fall of the Mayan Empire- Water

Postby bangstrom on June 10th, 2016, 10:48 pm 

Underground water is everywhere in Yucatan. When out in the bosque you have to be careful where you step or you could slip through a small cenote and never be seen again. I suspect Yucatan's soil for crops literally went down the drain.
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Re: Fall of the Mayan Empire- Water

Postby zetreque on June 10th, 2016, 10:52 pm 

bangstrom » Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:48 pm wrote:Underground water is everywhere in Yucatan. When out in the bosque you have to be careful where you step or you could slip through a small cenote and never be seen again. I suspect Yucatan's soil for crops literally went down the drain.


Good point, we know that rain forest soil isn't that great once the rain forest is removed. Combine that with the holey (literally) ground and it's an experiment modern humans haven't really done yet.
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Re: Fall of the Mayan Empire- Water

Postby BadgerJelly on June 10th, 2016, 11:15 pm 

I vaguely remember watching a doc. about the fall of the Mayans and El Nido. I guess you may be able to find on youtube with a quick search if it interests you.
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Re: Fall of the Mayan Empire- Water

Postby zetreque on June 10th, 2016, 11:40 pm 

There are many shows on it. I was watching one today which initiated this thread idea.

Another thought I had is the connection of underworld gods to death in their culture could have something to do with sanitation ground water contamination. If people venture into the underground cenotes and get sick, it could lead them to believe in spirits and death which leads them to make sacrifices making them even more contaminated and spreading the diseases around the peninsula.
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Re: Fall of the Mayan Empire- Water

Postby BadgerJelly on June 11th, 2016, 2:32 am 

I think that is a stretch too as almost every culture possesses some myth of the "underworld". I doubt very much they all refer to sanitation of water.
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