The early Pueblo civilisation colonised the Four Corners of the US for thousands of years until being abandoned for reasons unknown from the 13th century. Scientists have now discovered four major phases of societal collapse that took place in the last 500 years of the civilisation’s existence.
Researchers from Washington State University found all of the collapses coincided with periods of climate change, and that times of drought led people to discard their spiritual beliefs and rituals and reform the society accordingly.
Published in Science Advances, scientists combined tree ring data indicating rainfall and heat over time with archaeological research from over 1,000 ancient Pueblo sites. This provided researchers with a view of how the society reacted to periods of climate change, which would significantly affect crop production, and therefore food availability.