Watch it Again: NOVA’s Ancient Maya Metropolis
More than a thousand years ago, the ancient ancestors of today’s Maya people thrived in sophisticated cities across Central America. At their peak, some cities housed over 100,000 inhabitants and were among the largest cities in the world. They were hubs of trade, art, and writing, where Maya rulers commissioned magnificent pyramids and palaces.
But beginning around 750 CE, many of the great Maya cities were abandoned, only to be reclaimed by the jungle. Now, archaeologists are using new technology and recently uncovered evidence to try to figure out why the era of the Maya metropolis came to an end.
Did catastrophic droughts cause widespread crop failures? Did political infighting destabilize the region?
An extraordinary “diary” of warfare between three cities adds vivid new detail to our understanding of a major shift in the ancient Mayan world. The evidence also testifies to the survival and resilience of the Maya people, whose traditions and creativity continue to enrich the world today.
Watch NOVA: Ancient Maya Metropolis on Wednesday, March 22 at 9pm on WITF TV, or stream it using your WITF Passport membership and the PBS or WITF app. Not a member? Become one today by making a donation of at least $5 a month or $60 a year.