Lessons From The Past: Cultural Collapse and Decline

There is a natural progression in which civilizations rise, and in many cases expand their influence over surrounding areas, only to constrict geographically and in some cases collapse entirely. They often leave behind abandoned settlements and cities with architectural remains and artifacts. Their populations may move to a new location or be absorbed by another culture or civilization. They may also fade away, so that they are no longer recognizable as members of the civilization or culture that has collapsed.

Among the Hudson’s holdings are collections from Mesoamerica, South America and the region ranging from Northern Mexico to the American Southwest. The causes of collapse are many: foreign invasion, climate change, environmental degradation, natural disaters,warfare, famine and even pandemics. These examples shed some light on the delicate balance between people and place and how easy it is to tip the scales.