The Collapse of ancient civilizations: lessons from the past

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The objective of this Masters Degree Project is to develop a data base within which the collapses of ancient civilizations can be explained and compared to the problems facing civilization today. This paper reviews cultural evolution and archaeology, and six ancient civilizations which underwent some form of cultural discontinuity. It identifies those factors which are believed to have played a primary role in the collapses. As well it identifies comparable conditions with the present. The study concludes that there is a strong comparative basis and that the experience of collapse in the past provides a relevant perspective for today. The ancient civilizations examined are two periods of Mesopotamian history, the Third Dynasty of Ur and the Sasanian Empire, the Old Kingdom-First Intermediate Period of Egyptian history, the Harappan Civilization of the Indus River Valley, the Maya Civilization of the Yucatan region, and the Khmer Empire of Southeast Asia. The civilizations and their collapses are described, evaluated and compared to each other within the framework of a systems approach to cultural evolution. The results are then used to discuss comparisons between the past and the present.
Bibliography: p. 101-116.
Glover, S. M. (1991). The Collapse of ancient civilizations: lessons from the past (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/12789