Climate and Land Use Change in the Maya Lowlands

Maya art

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Understanding the causes of widespread abandonment in the southern Maya lowlands at the end of the Classic period (~1000 CE) has been the focus of scientific research for well over a century. Several theories have been proposed to explain this event, including extended droughts and increased warfare. Paleoenvironmental reconstructions, based on multi-proxy data sets, are an important compliment to the archeological record, as they provide critical insight into past climate variability and human activity at both local and regional scales. This talk will examine several paleoenvironmental studies from the Maya lowlands as a basis for developing a broader context from which to view the rise and fall of prehispanic Maya settlement.
David Wahl is Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Geography Department at UC Berkeley and a Research Geographer at the USGS in Menlo Park.