The Ancient Anasazi
Anasazi is also known as the ancient one. It is one of the U.S. Southwestern cultures, which settled down in the Chaco Canyon. Their civilization was a powerful one, as Anasazi managed to create a society that existed around six centuries – from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1200 (Diamond, 2012). They are best known for being actively involved in trade with neighboring societies, woodland deterioration, and causing a severe environmental change in this area.
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Even though Anasazi could not leave long-lasting messages because they did not have a writing system, they possessed enough skills to construct strong and tall buildings. As for now, knowledge about their civilization is obtained from the findings of archaeologists, dendrochronologists, and paleoecologists. The fact that Chaco Canyon was settled and the inhabiting civilization caused the loss of woodland was discovered during studying midden of packrats because it changes with alterations in diet.
The commonality of cannibalism was revealed when cracked human bones were located, as they were cracked just like those of animals are when extracting marrow for food. Finally, the fact that it was a rich empire was discovered due to finding luxury goods such as shell jewelry, pieces of pottery, and copper bells during diggings.
Although the Chaco civilization filed as history, there is a powerful message is left to future generations. The central idea is that nobody has enough knowledge to predict the change of conditions whether they are economic, political, or environmental due to their constant fluctuation. This message can be traced to several causes of society’s collapse. First and foremost, even if policies are efficient in the near term, they might lead to devastation and collapse over time.
For instance, the decision to get involved in the trade of timber is economically beneficial in the short run. However, it leads to deforestation and environmental and climate changes in the long run. So, even though it helps create an independent civilization, it as well puts it at risk of collapse. Finally, they taught that a major role in developing a complex society belongs to religion and politics (Diamond, 2012).
The ancient Maya was the civilization settling the Yucatan Peninsula and Central America. They are best known for the architecture of their cities, well-developed systems of writing, numerous written texts, the Mayan language, being skilled in arts, and long-count calendar. Although Maya’s homeland is believed to be located in the jungle and tropical rainforests, the climate was different and hard to forecast. That said, it varied from dry seasons in the southern areas to heavy rainfalls in the northern, which had a significant influence on civilization development.
It is essential to note that Maya is popular for its subsistence strategies. Because of an unpredictable climate, they were dependent on seasonal cultures and raised fields. In the case of overpopulated cities, Maya planted crops between seasons anticipating rain and facing high risks of poor harvest. Moreover, they developed a zoned approach to agriculture and planted crops based on the climate area. For instance, fruit gardens were located in well-drained areas, while corn was planted in the lowland. Finally, Maya preferred the so-called slash-and-burn agriculture, i.e. burning forests to create fields and raise crops.
Still, regardless of numerous talents, the civilization collapsed due to several causes. Most climatologists and paleoecologists believe that the major reason for their collapse is the environmental and climate change just like in the case of Anasazi. They were affected by deforestation, as forests protected their soil. So, once the woodland was lost, the soil was deteriorated. Also, they felt the influence of frequent droughts. Finally, the collapse was caused by cycles of cities’ power as well as chronic and extensive warfare and military aggressions (Diamond, 2012).
Diamond, J. (2012). Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. New York, NY: Penguin Books.