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One of history’s greatest mysteries is that of the Maya, who built great rainforest cities across two millennia and then abruptly abandoned them. New discoveries reconstruct this story. Cave sites tell when the rains stopped and how long droughts lasted. Grave site bone analyses tell what the Maya ate, whence they came and how their lives changed. Lidar penetrates the jungle. CGI reveals Maya achievements like never before, uncovering the skilled geo-engineering that enabled increasingly complex and immense cities. One key find—the KomKom vase—offers the only known Maya writing at the cusp of their collapse. It details wars, dynastic power struggles, and failing governance amid deepening drought, and murder. Cave sites reveal escalating offerings, adult sacrifice and, in final desperation, child sacrifice. This film recounts the Maya collapse as it was written by the Maya themselves.

Length: 52 min

Country: Canada

Language: English

Director: Leif Kaldor

Producer(s): Leslea Mair