An archaeologist carefully works to revive a small part of the grandeur of the Classic city of Ek Balam, once more powerful than Chichen Itza.
The Cycles of Time
Across vast tracts of seemingly deserted jungle lowlands, cornfields and rocky outcrops, is scattered evidence of kingdoms which rose and fell, and millions of people who lived and died. The question that haunts us now is this: how did a 5,000-year civilization of agricultural, astronomical and mathematical geniuses perish in only 10-20 years? Theories abound.
Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond, author of Collapse, says the demise of the Maya follows an historical pattern. Drawing from archaeology, anthropology and ecology, he identifies common contributors of collapse in extinct societies like the Anasazi. The predictors of imminent collapse were: overuse of resources for war; overpopulation; little regard for the future; top heavy distribution of wealth; insulated governing elite; cultural arrogance, and finally, unanticipated environmental challenge like drought or disease. The mystery of the disappearing Maya may not be so mysterious.
Check out a list of our recommended self-guided tours.
Creativity, Faith and Nobility
Unspoiled and Mysterious
"The swimmer", is one of many life-like stucco sculptures at Ek Balam, which survived the elements for hundreds of years.
Power and Prosperity
A History of Commercialism
Two Great Civilizations Merge
Off the Tourist Trail
Explore by Foot or Bicycle