No one really knows exactly why the settlements were burned. Van Tuerenhout says some scholars think it was because the people were farmers and had depleted the soil; some think the soil depletion was caused by runoff, a side-effect of overzealous wood harvesting; some think it might have been because of disease; and others say it was a combination of all three factors.
Thats what makes it so interesting to me, Van Tuerenhout says. We dont have answers to everything. We dont have an open-and-shut case like Greek and Roman archeology, where its like, Let me look it up real quick, because Im sure some guy wrote about that at some point. We dont have writing from these people. We have some symbols from these people some argue maybe could have been writing...but its nothing like Greece, Rome, Egypt. And so archeology has to come to the rescue.
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May 27-Sept. 5, 2011