This event is cancelled.
Gordon R. Willey Lecture and Reception
Free and open to the public.
Billie L. Turner II, Regents Professor and Gilbert F. White Professor of Environment and Society, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and the School of Sustainability, Arizona State University
Ancient Maya civilization—known for its cities, monumental architecture, ceramics, hieroglyphic writing, and advanced understanding of mathematics and astronomy—suffered a major demise between the tenth and eleventh centuries. The causes continue to be investigated and debated. Paleoenvironmental research over the past twenty years has revealed that the demise coincided with a prolonged intensive drought that extended across the region, providing compelling evidence that climate change played a key role in the collapse of the Maya. Billie Turner will examine this evidence and the complex social and environmental conditions—including land use and landscape changes—that affected Maya societies.
This event will be livestreamed on the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture (HMSC) Facebook page and the HMSC website. A recording of this program will be available on the Harvard Museum of Natural History Lecture Videos page approximately three weeks after the lecture.
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About the Speaker:
B. L. Turner II studies human-environment relationships from prehistory to contemporary sustainability. Focusing on the dynamics between society and land, his research has addressed the ancient Maya, smallholder agriculture in the tropics, tropical deforestation, and sustainability science. Dr. Turner is a member of both the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts of Sciences, and serves as Associate Editor of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served on numerous national and international organizations addressing land, climate change, and sustainability. He holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a M.A. and B.A. in geography from the University of Texas at Austin.