Biological Perspectives on the Collapse of the Pasin Maya Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractThis paper reviews bioarchaeological research that aimed to test the biological correlates of ecological explanations for the Maya collapse using human skeletal remains from five sites in the Pasin region. Stable isotope ratios of bone collagen and alkaline earth ratios in bone minerals do not support the expectation of increased reliance on maize and declining meat consumption during the final years of Pasin occupation. Moreover, skeletal pathology does not illustrate any increment in anemia, infectious disease, or dental growth disruption that is predicted to have been a consequence of high population density and deteriorating nutrition. Instead, changes in the social distribution of foods during the Terminal Classic supports the mounting evidence that the Pasin collapse was fueled more by sociopolitical transformations than environmental ones.

published proceedings

  • Ancient Mesoamerica

author list (cited authors)

  • Wright, L. E.

publication date

  • January 1, 1997 11:11 AM