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In the past, human decisions, such as political conflicts, were considered to be the most reasonable explanation for the collapse of civilizations. Another possible reason that attributed to the collapse would be geological catastrophe. Collapse of civilizations has been discussed in the articles after their well-known prospect in the past. Changes in climate, however, are now regarded as the main relevance to the collapse of civilizations with the improvement of technology of climate detection. Civilizations that were used to be extremely prosperous in the past have now been collapsed due to the changes in climate, in which the Angkor (“Climate,” 2010), the capital of ancient Khmer empire in Cambodia now, and Maya (Werner, 2006) are included. According to “Climate”, the civilization of Angkor was splendid and presiding as they enjoyed the unprecedented water system, where there were colossus water tanks and canals, and connecting waterways. Werner, at the same time, claims the advanced civilization of Maya, which possessed complicated buildings, such as pyramids, and inscription to record history. However, these high civilizations collapsed into desolated areas and drought, as both of the authors indicate in their articles, are definitely responsible for the results.
Strongly detected by the analysis of tree rings, the drought has been confirmed as a severe change in climate that collapsing the civilization. Based on the analysis of “Climate,” the tree rings can be either thick or thin because of sufficient or scarce nutrition respectively. As the researcher Buckley, who is referred in “Climate,” compared the tree rings sample in southern Vietnam, he could tell the thin patterns and track the date when the civilization of Angkor collapsed, which are exactly evidence for a severe drought as poor nutrition. On the other hand, the anthropologist mentioned in Werner’s article, Richardson Gill, described that a drought could exert an intensive influence on the harvest in a whole year, resulting in a starvation as grain in tropic areas would go bad in a mere year. His data, collected from Scandinavian tree ring counts, proved the existence of drought and is now also supported by other studies. With these strong scientific basis and exemplars, the changes in climate are considered as a significant factor for collape of civilizations.
However, political conflict is contended as one of the most popular reasons for the collapse of civilizations before the advocacy of changes in climate. Werner states that, at first, some Mayanists were convinced that warfare was the reason for the collapse of Maya civilization, whose sites with military palisades and battlefield debris are discovered these days. Johnson(1996), meanwhile, discusses the collapse of Anasazi through the theory of Dr. Van West, an archeology at the University of Arizona, which kept moving to either lower or higher places that were not suitable for planting and harvesting in the past. Johnson still keeps showing the subsequent conclusion from Dr. Jonathan Haas who pointed out that people might be involved in attacks for food and it was human nature that people would attack back which caused the warfare and conflicts. As the statement listed above, the political conflict could eventually deplete the civilizations.
In advance of the idea of changes in climate, the geological catastrophe is also one of the most popular reasons for the collapse of civilizations. The ancient Minoan civilization, Crete (Weiss&Bradley, 2001; Koenig, 2001), is supposed to be ruined by the tsunami as a result of the collapse of volcano, which is assumed to have sufficient ability to damage Minoans by the archeologists these years. But later, Koeing also cites the result of a research from Floyd McCoy of the University of Hawaii’s Windward Community College, a geologist, who declared that there were actually other reasons combining together with tsunami, such as earthquake, which contributed to the collapse of the civilization. As in his research, he confirmed the insufficiency of tsunami to destroy such a broad region. Simultaneously, Werner refers to the 1931 book, History of the Maya wrriten by the first theoretical Mayanist, Sir J. Eric Thompson (189S-1975), in which the earthquake has been listed as a most plausible reason for the collapse of Maya civilization too. Based on the analysis, the idea of geological catastrophe, such as tsunami and earthquake, could also be plausibly destructive enough to destroy the civilizations.
However, even if there are such statements about another reasons bringing about the collapse of civilizations, the changes in climate seem to be superior to them in the discussion of the same civilizations. For instance, as Weiss and Bradley (2001) report in their article, the collapse of Maya civilization in Mesoamerica occurred with the advent of the most severe and long drought in a thousand years according to the research of lake sediment cores. After that, Weiss and Bradley keep talking about the collapse of Anasazi in North America, which had to be abandoned in a serious shortage of food as the drought remained for three decades and temperatures kept dropping in the 13th century A.D. In this way, the changes of climate have been provided more scientific basis and plausibility than the two previous popular reasons, human decisions and geological catastrophe.
Though, the human decisions and geological catastrophe have been convinced in the past for their ability of destruction, the changes of climate is now believed to be the main role of the collapse of civilizations, which is based on large amount of scientific evidence.
References
Climate hastened collapse of Angkor, capital of ancient Khmer empire. (2010, Apr. 5). Voice of America News. Retrieved Nov. 8, 2012 from ProQuest Research Library.
Johnson, G. (1996, Aug, 20). Social strife may have exiled ancient Indians. New York Times, 1. Retrieved Nov. 12, 2011 from Academic Search Premier.
Koenig, R. (2001, Aug. 17). Modeling a 3600-year-old tsunami sheds light on the Minoan past. Science, 1252. Retrieved Nov. 8, 2012 from ProQuest Research Library.
Weiss, H. & Bradley, R.S. (2001, Jan. 26). Science, 609-610. Retrieved Nov. 10, 2011 from Academic Search Premier.
Werner, L. (2006, Nov./Dec.) The Maya war of words. Americas, 40-47. Retrieved Nov. 8, 2012 from ProQuest Research Library.

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