Bonus Blog

So I know a lot of people are saying “oh my gosh having to choose a favorite/most important archeological site?! What cruel and unusual punishment!” and although I do agree that importance can be found within most archeological sites no matter how big or small, I do believe that some are more important finds than others. In my opinion one of the more important ones we have learned about in class is the Mesoamerican settlements but more specifically the Mayans. Although the decline of the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans all had something more or less to do with the Spanish, the Mayans had the greatest mixture of reasons for their downfall, all of them being elements they could have controlled. The reasons for the collapse of the Incans were because of internal strife, political issues, Spanish conquest by Pizarro but also widespread disease, which was more or less out of their control. The Mayan collapse however were all issues within the people. Firstly, people abandoned ceremonial centers and cities. Just a small side note, It always confuses me as to why ancient peoples that we have learned about just get up and “abandon” their cities. Where do they go? Why do they just decide to move? I can’t even imagine a widespread movement of say “everyone in michigan, migrate south, we are abandoning this place now.” and I know they could be for a variety of reasons too. I dunno. But anyway, other reasons for the Mayan decline were the collapse of trade, which probably left less resources coming in for people which led to the decline of their population and their elites. This also probably brought down their economy. Other reasons were warfare and social turmoil (probably from the stresses of their lesser economy.) What struck me most however was that firstly, these are all things they could have managed to figure out more or less. and secondly, how their own kindness ultimately led to their decline. When the Spanish began their conquest of the Mayans, many of them were friendly and gave the explorers gold and silver. This left the Spanish hungry for more, so they kept going back in search of more gold and silver. Although the Mayans were the hardest of the Mesoamericans to conquer because of their political structure (city states; so the Spanish had to conquer each and every individual city state rather than just one area such as the structure of the Incas and Aztecs) It just makes me wonder whether humans are inherently good or inherently bad. On one hand, the more developed world (the spanish) you could argue were inherently bad by taking over people, land and gold and silver that were not theirs to take. The Mayan civilization site just seems so much more important than the others for this reason. They were kind to outsiders and look what that got them. This mentality still stands today I believe. Just to conclude on that point, I think The Mayan Civilization is one of the most important topics we have learned about in class because of how much we can learn from their decline.