在我们托福考试中，无论是reading materials还是listening materials，都多次涉及过对玛雅文明的介绍。在阅读文章中，涉及最多的是关于玛雅文明的rise和collapse的探索。那我们来一起看看考古学家们对这块有什么样的研究结论。
一、玛雅文明的兴起 The Rise of the Maya Civilization
1、宗教 One archaeologist, William Haviland, argues that it was the centralizing effects of Maya religion that led to the rise of Classic Maya civilization. He believes that the religious centers acted as magnets to peoples living in the surrounding areas.
2、贸易 Other scholars attribute the growth of the ceremonial centers to trade. William Rathje argues that the basic cause for the rise of Maya civilization was the necessity for the Maya, who lived in resource-poor lowlands, to trade with adjacent highlanders for materials such as obsidian (a rock used to make ornaments and cutting edges), salt, and hard stone for grinding implements.
3、区域竞争 Yet other factors beyond ideology and trade must have been important in the emerging Classic Maya civilization. Competition among the growing number of centers may also have played a key role in the growth of social, economic, and political complexity, as the organization of the centers grew to meet the pressures of other centers for new agricultural land and control of rising populations.
二、玛雅文明的衰败 The Collapse of the Mayas
1、密集农业造成的环境负担 The first argument is that because of their size and ever more intensive agriculture, the Mayan and other ancient state societies were fundamentally unsustainable.
2、天启式的自然灾害 Claims about environmental degradation and disaster have figured prominently in discussions of the collapse of the Mayan city-states of the Central American lowlands.
3、社会不稳定等因素造成的逐渐衰败 Recent studies of the Mayan collapse (beginning around A.D. 900) have emphasized the gradual and progressive nature of the process, beginning in earnest in the South and advancing northward. It was not a single, sudden event, as had once been thought. Warfare and social unrest are thought to have played a part, but these may well have arisen through pressure from other causes.
4、自然原因和人为原因造成的食物短缺 But what about the possibility of food shortages? These could have come about through either natural or humanly induced changes in the environment.