Deforestation, which occurred over time as Tikal grew, may have added to this problem, reducing rainfall and making it harder to grow crops. Ironically, after the people left, it was the jungle that would retake the city, covering its many pyramids with vegetation.
To explain the mysterious collapse...an anthropology professor at Yale, Marcello Canuto, says "The carrying capacity of the ecosystem was pushed to its limits."
"Because peak population, wealth, resource consumption, and waste production are accompanied by peak environmental impact--approaching the limit at which impact outstrips resources--we can now understand why declines of societies tend to follow swiftly on their peaks," wrote Diamond...
At its peak in the Late Classic period (A.D. 682-909) the city [Tikal] was spread over 50 square miles (130 square km), its population estimated to be as high as 100,000 people, external trade helping fuel its growth. Recent research reveals that the city’s inhabitants created a sophisticated water management system to see it through periods when it didn’t have any rain.
The pyramids at Tikal, are turned to face one another, and the rooms which are built at the top of the pyramid have depressions in the stone walls that serve as amplifiers of the voice which are broadcast in all directions.
Mayan civilization is recognized by high pyramids that have decorated house crests on the top, scientific calendars, and highly developed hieroglyphs.
The Mayan calendar has different time aspect than any other calendar. It captures evolutionary time, which reflects large-scale change, or the big picture – the divine plan, or the timing of the universe – the consciousness.
Maya agriculture opened the door to a golden age. The population gradually increased as this pattern of land use replicated itself across the landscape like a wave in slow motion.
Archaeologists divide Maya history into four time periods, the Pre-Classic, the Classic, and the Post-Classic.
The Pre-Classic period began about 700 BC, Classic Maya period began about 250 BC and the Post-Classic period after 900 AD.
The Maya Empire, centered in the tropical lowlands of what is now Guatemala, reached the peak of its power and influence around the sixth century A.D. The Maya excelled at agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making and mathematics, and left behind an astonishing amount of impressive architecture and symbolic artwork.