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One of my tour mates.

The Maya started building here in the 4th century BC, built one thing on top of another, had a golden age (200-900 AD), and then abandoned the area around 1,000 AD.

Our guide gave a long story about why they left, for lack of water he said. Because there is no natural water anywhere near here. They had to save rainwater and channel water from Lago Petén, which was eventually depleted. The population multiplied, there was a drought, etc.

BUT guidebooks and the internet have other theories. It seems there is no general agreement as to the cause of their disappearance.
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  HomeCentral and South America • Guatemala • '09 Mar: Flores & TIKAL, Guatemala  

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