The perfect storm: climate change and ancient Maya response in the Puuc Hills region of Yucatán

Michael P. Smyth
Nicholas P. Dunning
Eric M. Weaver

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Climatic fluctuation is often cited as a major factor in the collapse of Maya civilisation during the Terminal Classic Period (e.g. Luzzadder-Beach et al. 2016). Evidence of how people dealt or failed to deal with it has only recently become a more widespread focus for archaeologists. Investigations at Xcoch in the Puuc Hills show the various ways in which resident populations sought to manage water stores when faced with a climate prone to drought and other meteorological extremes. The study also presents results from the analysis of nearby speleothem laminae, which indicate that severe episodes of flooding and droughts may have contributed to a collapse in the population around AD 850.