The Angkor and Mayan civilizations can ‘teach us about climate resilience’

The civilization of Angkor in what is now Cambodia thrived for centuries before it went into relatively sudden decline and collapsed. Across the world the Mayan civilization experienced a similar trajectory in Mesoamerica round about the same time.

Yet even as these iconic civilizations collapsed between 900 CE and 1,500 CE, others in their respective regions continued to flourish.

Now a team of scientists say they might have an answer as to why that happened: climate resilience, or rather lack thereof. The collapse of the Angkor and Mayan civilizations occured during periods of intense climate variability, which triggered mass exoduses from populated urban centers and led to social collapse, they note.

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Daniel T Cross