Ups and Downs of Yucatan Maya
Bower, Bruce, Science News
Ups and downs of Yucatan Maya
During the Classic period of Maya civilization, from A.D. 250 to A.D. 900, cities in lowland regions of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize grew in size and amassed much power. Increasing archaeological evidence now suggests that Maya settlements in the west-central Yucatan Peninsula languished for much of that Maya "golden era" but then flourished as centers to the south fell on hard times.
Witness Yaxuna, an ancient Maya settlement in the center of the peninsula. Excavations and pottery analysis indicate that Yaxuna was a sparsely populated "backwater site" at the height of the Classic period, asserts Charles Suhler of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. However, Yaxuna expanded rapidly as the Classic period wound down, holding prominence until A.D. 1000. Military conquest of the city by as-yet-unidentified forces then occurred, Suhler says.
Ceramic evidence places the founding of Yaxuna at around 500 B.C., with the first large buildings appearing by 100 B. …