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Mayan tomb may shed light on civilization collapse

A 1,100-year-old tomb discovered discovered in Tonina, Mexico, may shed some light on why the Mayan civilization collapsed.

Archeologist Juan Yadeun said the tomb, and ceramics from another culture found in it, may reveal who occupied the Mayan site of Tonina in southern Chiapas state after the culture’s classic period began fading.

Many experts have pointed to internal warfare between Mayan city states, or environmental degradation, as possible causes of the Maya’s downfall starting around AD 820.

But Yadeun, who oversees the Tonina site for Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, said artifacts from the Toltec culture found in the tomb may point to another explanation. He said the tomb dates to between the years 840 and 900.

“It is clear that this is a new wave of occupation, the people who built this grave of the Toltec type,” Yadeun said Wednesday. “This is very interesting, because we are going to see from the bones who these people are, after the Maya empire.”

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