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The Nazca Civilization Caused Its Own Demise

The Nazca is perhaps one of the most mysterious civilizations in the history of mankind. Around 1,500 years ago, this advanced society in Peru mysteriously collapsed. Scientists have suggested a massive El Nino event as the culprit. However, new research shows that massive deforestation also played a key role in the demise of the Nazca civilization.

Archaeologist David Beresford-Jones of Cambridge University discovered that the ancient Nazca cut down native huarango trees to plant maize, cotton, and other crops. The huarango trees played important roles in the desert environment of the Nazca. These trees enhanced moisture and soil fertility, provided shade from the scorching heat of the desert, and underpinned the floodplain.

The cutting down of the huarango trees caused irreversible damage to the environment. When the massive El Nino occurred, the huarango trees were no longer there to prevent or reduce flooding. As a result, the floods damaged the irrigation systems, leaving the Nazca with an area unworkable for agriculture.


The Garamantes Were Highly Civilized


The Garamantes are an ancient civilization that flourished in what is now modern-day Libya. Most of what scholars know about this mysterious society comes from Roman accounts, which described them as “barbaric nomads and troublemakers on the edge of the Roman Empire.” However, a new discovery reveals that the Garamantes civilization was actually advanced and historically more important than previously thought.

In 2011, a team of researchers led by archaeologist David Mattingly from the University of Leicester discovered more than 100 fortified farms, towns, and villages with castlelike structures in Libya that date from AD 1 to AD 500.

Contrary to what the Romans had suggested, these structures and settlements prove that the Garamantes were highly civilized. They opened up the trans-Saharan trade and were pioneers of building oases. The researchers made this remarkable discovery after examining air photographs and satellite images.