New Tomb May Explain Mayans' Downfall

Archaeologists say clues point to rise of the Toltec culture
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2010 7:25 AM CST
A ceramic head found in a newly discovered tomb sits on display at the Mayan Tonina archeological site near Ocosingo village in Mexico's Chiapas state.   (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar)
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(Newser) – A newly discovered tomb from the twilight of the Mayans may offer clues as to why their civilization collapsed, Mexican archeologists say. Artifacts from the tomb are from the Toltec culture, suggesting that it was their rise instead of internal feuding or environmental degradation that doomed Mayan culture, the overseer of the archeological site in Chiapas province tells AP.

The 1,100-year-old tomb was found at the foot of a jungle-clad temple during maintenance work and contains the bones of what archeologists believe is a woman. The culture she belonged to is unclear. Experts not involved with the dig caution against drawing too many conclusions from one site. "One tomb, even if it is very fancy, isn't going to answer big things about the trajectory of Maya history all over the place," says a University of Texas Mayan specialist.

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