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Leaving Mesa Verde

It is one of the great mysteries in the archaeology of the Americas: the depopulation of the northern Southwest in the late thirteenth-century AD. Considering the numbers of people affected, the distances moved, the permanence of the departures, the severity of the surrounding conditions, and the human suffering and culture change that accompanied them, the abrupt conclusion to the farming way of life in this region is one of the greatest disruptions in recorded history.

Emerging from the paleoenvironmental and archaeological investigations of fifteen scientists is a highly pertinent story of conflict and disruption influenced by climate change, environmental degradation, and social rigidity. The overall picture that results from these scientific contributions recognizes an era having witnessed a competition between differing social and economic organizations, in which selective migration was considerably hastened by severe climatic, environmental, and social upheaval.

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Leaving Mesa Verde