The contributors to this book scrutinize the data, survey external influences on the early Maya, and consider economics, ecology, demography, and warfare - as well as social and ideological factors - in explaining the transformation of Maya culture from a village-oriented society to one centered on elite classes living in large civic centers with monumental architecture.
Of the many mysteries surrounding ancient Maya civilization, none has attracted greater interest than its collapse in the eighth and ninth centuries AD. Until recently, speculations on the causes of the collapse have been more numerous than excavated sites in the area. But the past twenty-five years have produced many new findings. In this book, thirteen leading scholars use new data to revise the image of ancient Maya civilization and create a new model of its collapse—a general model of sociopolitical collapse not limited to the cultural history of the Maya alone.