Medieval Warmth: Did the Medieval Warm Period Sink the Maya but Make the Mongols?

Author(s): E. Anderson

Year: 2015


World temperatures are now back up to the range last seen in the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), a time known to have caused droughts in many areas, warmer moister weather in others. The droughts may have destroyed lowland Maya civilization, as well as Pueblo III culture, and may also have impacted Khmer civilization in Cambodia, and other tropical cultures. Recently, Mongolia has been shown to have had warmer weather, which would have made life easier for forest and grassland Mongols, though harder in the drought-stricken Gobi. Perhaps Genghis Khan could ride out with his hordes because of better horse-rearing conditions. On the other hand, not all of Mayaland fell, and not all Mongols rose. Social and human-ecological factors must have made some differences. The central Maya Lowlands were very fine-tuned, relying on delicate balance. Genghis Khan’s eastern Mongol world was especialliy favored by both climatic improvement and proximity to north China (then controlled by nomadic states). These and other factors evidently mattered along with climate.

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Cite this Record

Medieval Warmth: Did the Medieval Warm Period Sink the Maya but Make the Mongols?. E. Anderson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395668)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;