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Stacy Keach Narrates This Investigation Of The Societal Collapse Of The Mesoamerican Civilizations Of The Maya And Aztecs, The Sumerians Of Ancient Mesopotamia, And The Anasazi Ancestral Puebloans Of The San Jaquin Valley, Chaco Canyon And The Mesa Verde, Presented In The Highest DVD Quality MPG Video Format Of 9.1 MBPS As An MP4 Video Download Or Archival Quality All Regions Format DVD! (Color, 1992, 58 Minutes.)
Around the world lie the ruins of once-great civilizations. In Colorado in New Mexico, Native Americans built thriving towns. In the rain forest of Mesoamerica, the ancient Maya created magnificent city states; here, three million people once lived. In the earliest crade of civilization, ancient Mesopotamian farmers once made their deserts bloom. Halfway around the world in California are clues to understanding the fall of Mesopotamia, as Californian farmers struggle to overcome a threat to their fertile garden land. The ruins of ancient societies hold the keys to modern civiliztion's continued survival, as archeologist study the decline and fall of grand civilizations
Societal Collapse (also known as Civilizational Collapse) is the fall of a complex human society characterized by the loss of cultural identity and of socioeconomic complexity, the downfall of government, and the rise of violence. Possible causes of a societal collapse include natural catastrophe, war, pestilence, famine, economic collapse, population decline, and mass migration. A collapsed society may revert to a more primitive state, be absorbed into a stronger society, or completely disappear. Virtually all civilizations have suffered such a fate, regardless of their size or complexity, but some of them later revived and transformed, such as China, India, and Egypt. However, others never recovered, such as the Western and Eastern Roman Empires, the Maya civilization, and the Easter Island civilization. Societal collapse is generally quick but rarely abrupt. However, some cases involve not a collapse but only a gradual fading away, such as the British Empire since 1918. Anthropologists, (quantitative) historians, and sociologists have proposed a variety of explanations for the collapse of civilizations involving causative factors such as environmental change, depletion of resources, unsustainable complexity, invasion, disease, decay of social cohesion, rising inequality, secular decline of cognitive abilities, loss of creativity, and misfortune. However, complete extinction of a culture is not inevitable, and in some cases, the new societies that arise from the ashes of the old one are evidently its offspring, despite a dramatic reduction in sophistication. Moreover, the influence of a collapsed society, such as the Western Roman Empire, may linger on long after its death. The study of societal collapse, collapsology, is a topic for specialists of history, anthropology, sociology, and political science. More recently, they are joined by experts in cliodynamics and study of complex systems.
The Maya Collapse is the decline of the Classic Maya civilization and the abandonment of Maya cities in the southern Maya lowlands of Mesoamerica between the 7th and 9th centuries. At Ceibal, the Preclassic Maya experienced a similar collapse in the 2nd century. The Classic Period of Mesoamerican chronology is generally defined as the period from 250 to 900 CE, the last century of which is referred to as the Terminal Classic. The Classic Maya collapse is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in archaeology. Urban centers of the southern lowlands, among them Palenque, Copan, Tikal, and Calakmul, went into decline during the 8th and 9th centuries and were abandoned shortly thereafter. Archaeologically, this decline is indicated by the cessation of monumental inscriptions and the reduction of large-scale architectural construction at the primary urban centers of the Classic Period. Although termed a collapse, it did not mark the end of the Maya civilization but rather a shift away from the Southern Lowlands as a power center; the Northern Yucatan in particular prospered afterwards, although with very different artistic and architectural styles, and with much less use of monumental hieroglyphic writing. In the Post-Classic Period following the collapse, the state of Chichen Itza built an empire that briefly united much of the Maya region, and centers such as Mayapan and Uxmal flourished, as did the Highland states of the K_iche_ and Kaqchikel Maya. Independent Maya civilization continued until 1697 when the Spanish conquered Nojpeten, the last independent city-state. Millions of Maya people still inhabit the Yucatan peninsula today.
The Spanish Conquest Of The Aztec Empire, also known as the Conquest of Mexico or the Spanish-Aztec War (1519-21), was one of the primary events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. There are multiple 16th-century narratives of the events by Spanish conquistadors, their indigenous allies, and the defeated Aztecs. It was not solely a contest between a small contingent of Spaniards defeating the Aztec Empire but rather the creation of a coalition of Spanish invaders with tributaries to the Aztecs, and most especially the Aztecs' indigenous enemies and rivals. They combined forces to defeat the Mexica of Tenochtitlan over a two-year period. For the Spanish, the expedition to Mexico was part of a project of Spanish colonization of the New World after twenty-five years of permanent Spanish settlement and further exploration in the Caribbean.
The Fall Of The Sumerians: Sumerians are known as the founders of the urban civilization that dominated in southern Mesopotamia in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC. They developed a network of irrigation channels that made it possible to cultivate cereals in desert areas of the Lower Euphrates, introduced an ideographic script, initially pictographic and then simplified to the form of cuneiform characters impressed in wet clay, built the biggest cities in the world at that time, with monumental temples and enormous palaces. Historians of ancient Mesopotamia generally represent this disappearance of Sumerian civilization patterns as a gradual process, initiated by the Akkadians in the late 3rd millennium, then continued by the Amorites in the early 2nd millennium and completed by the Kassites in the mid-2nd millennium BC. Nevertheless, there are certain important arguments suggesting that the fall of the Sumerian civilization was not a slow process, but a rapid change of catastrophic nature, which took place in the 11th regal year of Samsu-iluna, the son and successor of Hammurabi to the throne of Babylon, ruling in approx. 1749-1712 BC.
The Ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi, were an ancient Native American culture that spanned the present-day Four Corners region of the United States, comprising southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. They are believed to have developed, at least in part, from the Oshara tradition, which developed from the Picosa culture. The people and their archaeological culture are often referred to as Anasazi, meaning "ancient enemies", as they were called by Navajo. Contemporary Puebloans object to the use of this term, with some viewing it as derogatory. The Ancestral Puebloans lived in a range of structures that included small family pit houses, larger structures to house clans, grand pueblos, and cliff-sited dwellings for defense. They had a complex network linking hundreds of communities and population centers across the Colorado Plateau. They held a distinct knowledge of celestial sciences that found form in their architecture. The kiva, a congregational space that was used mostly for ceremonies, was an integral part of the community structure. Archaeologists continue to debate when this distinct culture emerged. The current agreement, based on terminology defined by the Pecos Classification, suggests their emergence around the 12th century BC, during the archaeologically designated Early Basketmaker II Era. Beginning with the earliest explorations and excavations, researchers identified Ancestral Puebloans as the forerunners of contemporary Pueblo peoples. Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in the United States are credited to the Pueblos: Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Taos Pueblo.