The Ancient Maya Response to Climate Change: A Cautionary Tale

Date: 

Thursday, February 27, 2020, 6:00pm

Location: 

Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge

Ancient pyramid.

Free Public Lecture

B. L. Turner II, Regents Professor and Gilbert F. White Professor of Environment and Society, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and the School of Sustainability, Arizona State University

Ancient Maya civilization suffered a major demise between the tenth and eleventh centuries. The causes continue to be investigated and debated. Paleoenvironmental research over the past twenty years has revealed that the demise coincided with a prolonged, intensive drought that extended across the region, providing compelling evidence that climate change played a key role in the collapse of the Maya. Billie Turner will examine this evidence and the complex social and environmental conditions that affected Maya societies.

Presented by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology and the Harvard Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University

Free event parking at the 52 Oxford Street Garage

Accommodations Accessibile Icon.

We encourage persons with disabilities to participate in programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation please contact us in advance at lectures@hmsc.harvard.edu.

About the Speaker:

B. L. Turner II studies human-environment relationships from prehistory to contemporary sustainability. Focusing on the dynamics between society and land, his research has addressed the ancient Maya, smallholder agriculture in the tropics, tropical deforestation, and sustainability science. Dr. Turner is a member of both the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts of Sciences, and serves as Associate Editor of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served on numerous national and international organizations addressing land, climate change, and sustainability. He holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a M.A. and B.A. in geography from the University of Texas at Austin.