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Classic era Maya collapse, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the abandonment of Pripyat

I'm getting ready to teach a month-long course in Mexico with my friend Charles Heath. During the planning process, I've been thinking a lot about the Maya exodus from cities like Palenque and Calakmul at the end of the classic period around 800 C.E. By the time the Spanish arrived in Mexico in 1519, most major Mayan cities had been abandoned for close to 700 years (give or take a few decades). That's roughly the same amount of time that separate us from the world of Christopher Columbus and Hernan Cortes. Nature can take back a lot in 700 years. Whole cities can be engulfed by forests and rivers. In fact, the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster got me thinking about cities in

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Sam Houston State University

Box 2239 | Huntsville, TX 77341

littlejohn@shsu.edu

Professor of History

University Diversity Committee Chair

Tel: 936 . 294 . 4438

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