At its height (250-900 AD), the Mayan Empire was one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world.  The city of Copan alone contained more than 6,000 structures spanning over 27 square miles, and was just one of many great Mayan urban centers spread across present-day Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.

However, by the 10th Century these ancient cities were being strangely and suddenly depopulated, leading to the complete collapse of the Mayan civilization.  The reason for this collapse remains one of the biggest mysteries in archaeology, but ZRS Researcher and Historian, Eugene Fredrick, now suggests a compelling Mayan Zombieexplanation for the extinction: zombies.

Fredrick notes that all other prevailing theories – disease, famine, war, revolt – fail to account for the notable lack of buried human remains.  In any traditional mass-casualty scenario an abundance of archeological evidence is left behind, including grave sites.

“The ghost towns of Maya house precious few such sites, echoing a panic so great, an extermination so fast, that this once proud people – steeped in tradition and ritual – had no choice but to leave their dead where they fell.”

He goes on to site reports of widespread cannibalism at the end of the Mayan civilization, suggesting something much more sinister than a simple drought or cross-tribal dispute.  Bones found in and around Mayan cities show signs of being violently ripped from their sockets, and chewed to bits on the spot.  Evidence has even been found of children eating their parents, and entire villages devouring themselves within a matter of days.

Though Fredrick’s theory is a bold one, it can no more be confirmed or denied than any other.  As of today, there is still no generally accepted explanation for why one of the most culturally advanced civilizations on the planet was wiped out in an impossibly short span of time.  Was it the first zombie apocalypse, or even just one in a long string of unrecognized outbreaks throughout human history?  No one knows for sure.

What do you think?



  1. it could be possible it could

  2. Could be posible

  3. Don’t believe it zombies fake!

  4. Oh So Brilliant One


    I was there.

  5. This is an insane suggestion for this civilizations ending but hey anything is possible! Honestly I think these cities just started to decay and the population voluntarily moved further north and south, and then the jungles and dirt took over…. OR it’s also possible that the population buried their cities in dirt and plants, it would explain why the sun temple was under piles of dirt and fully grown vegetation over it…many of the cities are under dirt and jungle growth. -_(“/)_-

  6. I think zombies could have been responsible it is a possible theory. zombies are created by some kind of disease. I think if people investigate or think about it for a while instead of being so dismissive about it we could would be better prepared to find out if that is what happened and be prepared if another big outbreak occurs for those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

  7. Don’t be an idiot & stop wasting my time, everyone knows that it was Ancient Aliens that took them down. DUH!

  8. We have to remember that when the Mayans sacrificed people, they ate them, well there hearts at least. They were ritual cannibals. but that point they made about the children eating there own parents, that’s kinda hard to prove. and the joints ripped from there sockets, the skeletons of Mayans found are so withered and thin that i find it hard to believe that they found such evidence. but it does make more sense then any other scenario I have to admit. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it.

  9. i believe the mayans like egytians only aloud certain people record their history other than them no one knew how to actually write it

  10. First of all it’s proven that conquistadores destroyed many famous mayan cities after they were defeated by the mayans, but came back with many more troops so what happened most likely was after these spanish soldiers destroyed these cities and killed everybody the left the bodies where they fell and animals like tigers,vulchers, or other carnivorous animals came along and ripped limbs off bodies and chewed on bones

  11. Love this website. Have told all my email mates about it. I agree with Max Brooks, author of the Zombie Survival Guide, that you can’t go wrong with a machete as your weapon of choice. Ash using the chainsaw and the shotgun is just so impractical. You are not always going to be able to find ammo and fuel. If you have a good whetstone and cleaning cloth, you can keep a machete in good nick indefinitely.

    • Machete is for chumps. A person can easily carry enough ammo on them to kill more zombies than you could ever hope to with a machete.

      • i got to agree with both of you, the mechete is definetly an excellente choice as compared to a chain saw or REAL fire arm ( hunting air rifles can be very useful too, as their ammo is a small lead or copper ball with can be made in the feild by almost anything and anyone) but i do agree that machetes are for chumps, i prefer my folded steel japanese katana, so sharp it could cut through a full size pig with one blow, also it is very light easy to maintain the sharpness and has a batter range than a machete

  12. Nero Apologizes

    First I just want to state that I love what you guys do. That being said as an archaeologist that studies the Maya (“Mayan” only used in direct reference to a spoken dialect) There are problems with this theory. Mainly that the Maya didn’t disappear, they relocated. They are still located throughout Mesoamerica with at least 33 different dialects still in use. Common thought within the archaeological community is that several factors led to the current state of the Maya. Competition for resources, warfare, and a few others were briefly mentioned, but the main culprit was never mentioned…the Spanish. Conservative estimates put the Mesoamerican death toll, due to the Spanish, at approximately 12 million. You can see how a more rural existence would be appealing if everyone around you is dead or dieing from small pox. As far as a lack of bodies is concerned they are around. Local laws make exumation a pain in butt, and if you are working on a grant to investigate agriculture throwing a body in the mix can substantially gum up the works, especially if you only have 3 or 4 weeks to complete research objectives. Bodies are sometimes “unfound”.

    • An Archeology Professor we interviewed at Columbia University before writing this article stated that the Classic Maya Collapse is one of the biggest mysteries in archaeology, and that there is no settled agreement about what really happened between experts in the field.

      That is not to say that zombies played a part, or that you are wrong in any of your claims. Just pointing out that even your fellow archaeologists note there is a lot of room for interpretation.

      • People have worked out the Maya language now and it said they moved on etc, I think one of the main kings (they are all separate cities only joined by a common royal family) got killed and the rest weren’t allowed to keep in the Myan cities so had to leave due to the Spanish.

        The Aztecs are the same the Spanish came in peace they stayed in the city for a few years seeing what is happening, their rituals are pretty full on, and they didn’t like so started converting people and then destroyed the main ritual buildings.

        They would crave out a persons heart making sure they were kept alive and then show them their beating heart then have them drink the blood pouring out from their heart then the priest would kill them or cut out their intestines and stuff.

      • zag how can we really work it out we can guess what it means but no one really knows but the ones who wrote it

  13. Let’s just say that it was zombies. For speculation, if nothing else.

    That would certainly explain the “mass-exodus” and the state of the found remains. even this raises a couple questions. Once the urban areas were exhausted, the zombies would wander off in any and all directions in search of food. That would mean that, with the dense populations they had, they would likely have run into other tribes, likely many of them, living in smaller areas. While some of these tribes would certainly be able to deal with a few attackers, the likelihood that all of them would is astoundingly low. As it was only this civilization that disappeared at this time, and not all the smaller groups of indigenous peoples, I consider that strike one against the zombie theory.

    Second, if there was an outbreak on this kind of scale, why were stories not coming in from neighboring regions? Surely some must have escaped into surrounding landscape. There are ALWAYS a few resourceful survivors, especially in the case of a warrior people like the Maya. So, if this is an outbreak of the kind of scale being discussed, i’m less concerned with where the living populace disappeared to than I am the dead one.

    As for the lack of evidence, the Spanish were a superstitious lot. They may well have destroyed any evidence they came across, and made the conscious decision not to reference it again. Sort of a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” philosophy. To acknowledge the devil is to give him power, after all, and they may have feared that pursuing the knowledge of what happened could lead only to death. Still, that’s a lot of “If’s”, and though speculation of events is the basis of discovery, sometimes we have a habit of making the facts fit the hypothesis.

    I simply can’t see myself getting behind the zombie theory on this one. That isn’t to say it couldn’t have been something viral. But a reanimating virus…just don’t see it.

  14. I’m not one to doubt that zombies every did, do, or will exist but has anyone looked for anything in common with the story of Roanoak or the ship or the mayans? Since there is a logical Zombie theory for each one they all neglect to say what could have possible started a virus of some sort? any idea what all these may have in common?

  15. Historians claim that their is no end record of the mayan culture primarily due to the fact that upon the spanish arival the the area almost all of the mayan writen record, paper documents, were burned due to the spanish catholics fear of the mayan traditions. so this could explain why there is no writen record. also archiologists admit that only about 1% of the mayan temples, towns, and cities have been extensivly explored. so maybe carvings or writen proof is just yet to be found. however this is the most interesting and seeming logical explantion. especially due to the mass graves of those people found, where hundreds of peoples remains were found in pits and the bones of every own shows violent attacks, most skulls crushed, bite and blade marks on all. they assumed it was war, and cannibalism. but an entire culture of that size turning to eating their seems unlikely thats normally only found in small tribes and villages, not civilizations. makes a lot of sense

  16. that is a very possible theory, but their is not much evidence.

    but didn’t the Mayans depict that every so and so years that the earth “cleanses itself” and that the next “cleansing” is in 2012.

    in 2 years its 2012

    rabies/mad cow=downgraded version of solanum(zombi tecnical term)

    i don’t know much about this stuff so forgive me if im too extreme

    but remember that the best most efficient way of killing zombies is too shoot their head.

    ten rules of zombi killing:
    1)orgonize before they rise

    2)they feel no fear why should you?

    3)use your head cut off theirs

    4)blades dont need reloading

    5)ideal protection=tight cloths, short hair

    6)get up the staircase then destroy it

    7)get out of the car, on to a bike

    8)keep moving, keep quite, keep low, keep alert!!!

    9)no place is safe, only safer

    10)the zombi may be gone but the treat lives on

    • First, the thing you gotten is form Max Brook’s (awesome) book- Zombie Survival Guide, the book has many real-life situations, but on zombie infections and behaviours it’s not entirely true.

      First, Solanum is a fiction name for the zombie virus, but today there is still no real name for zombie virus.

      Second, that top-10 lesson you got, it’s a motto for the book, some may be useful, but not entirely true.

      Myself is a fan of Max Brook’s books, but I recon they are not entirely true.

    • Katrina Russell

      Ask Mythbusters to test them out. 😛

  17. If the Mayans became cannibals then it lends proof to theory that the Mayan civilization died out because of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease or CJD. CJD is related to mad cow disease (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

    The cannibal Kuru in Papua-New Guinea, also met a similar fate.

  18. It’s a credible theory but then what happened to the zombies? As I understand it the Aztec’s took power pretty soon after the Mayans in a lot of the same areas if it was zombies wouldn’t they still have been around and if the Aztec’s simply annihilated them wouldn’t they have carvings at least?

    • I thought about that. A simple’ish explanation would be that the Aztecs made it taboo to carve anything of the zombies. Then again, perhaps we aren’t looking at different meanings. Do the Aztecs have any carvings about cannibals, or perhaps certain followers of a certain god or another walking around. Their god “granting” them eternal life, so to speak.

      • the aztecs do have a god i think of the wind that they say would come out at night and eat you. they would build benches by their roads for him to stop and rest on his journey. they say he never stopped walking. and wore torn up old dusty beggers clothes. sound like a zombie anybody? maybe the aztec military did their best to get rid of as many as possible knowing or not of their change into the undead but seeing as the capital is built on top of a lake that few have seen the bottom of and anything that goes down never comes up because of the massive sludge dumps at the bottom maybe they walked down into the water. and maybe too many were down their so some were able to come back to surface and thus their wind god was seen. alot of wat ifs but really it all makes alot of sense. their capital is sourounded by a massive lake on all sides. where else would the zombies go but into the water. maybe in a thousand years when that lake dries out and the sludge turns to dust we can go sift through it and finds hundreds of thousands of human skeletons.

        • I think that lake is pretty much dried out already. Smells awful like a sewer. I took the highway right over it many times from Texcoco to D.F. (Mexico City).

  19. Another thing, was it the Mayans or the Aztecs(or both) that sacrificed humans by cutting out their heart? What does history say they did with the bodies afterwords?

    Perhaps these human sacrifices weren’t so human after all. Then again, maybe that’s what set it off. Hear me out.

    Some mutation in nature/humans or a combo created a virus in one person. Perhaps they were just a carrier, perhaps not. Either way, let’s say this person is sacrificed (willingly or not doesn’t matter). The trauma from being cut open and your heart taken out triggers the survival instinct in this new virus/bacteria.

    All that blood, you know people got blood in them. Well, this newly ingested blood is still activated in the new person and this begins to turn him….probably days or even weeks later. At first, they think he’s just sick (spirits or what have you), he’s bitten a few people “in his madness”. Then he dies and suddenly these bitten people start to show the same signs.

    And NOW, these people are coming back to life, and turning cannibal, things go from bad to worse. The article said about cannabilism. Perhaps this is actually referring to the zombies. Given that the Mayans were spiritual, they probably wouldn’t know what zombies were. Their God of the Dead’s followers, maybe.

    • Now that is some good old fashioned speculation.

    • it was the aztecs and they very rarely just cut out the heart. the persons they would do this to were usually prisoners of war but very rarely they were civilians. usually the means of sacrafice was to stab them with multiple obsidian spears through the chest while they were suspended by all four limbs then they would leave the body for a couple days then untie it and let it down the river. during what was called the “flower wars” which was a series of wars between aztecs and mayans for the sake of sacrafice to their gods so they would get better harvests thousands of sacrafices were made monthly. these bodies were then cut up and divided out among the population. for food. The only time i can think of when only the heart was taken out was during a massive ceremony they had to christine two massive statues they called the sun stone and something else stone maybe moon. idk. heart was taken out and ground into the stone until nothing was left. i dont know what happened to the bodies usually the bodies if left uneaten would be burned. oh and the high priests were usually the ones who ate the brain.

    • oh an canabalism wasnt thought of as bad to them. however murder was punishable by instant death. and usually the sacrafices would be done at night when everyone else was asleep preformed by around three priests. every now and then they would have public sacrafices but they would do it on an alter hundreds of feet above the ground on the top of a pyramid like stairway. so accidental ingestion wouldnt be that easy except by the priests who were not allowed to eat except wat they ate for ceremonies. (fun fact: during their form of mass they would eat a certain type of mushroom that made them have visions and that only they were allowed to eat. otherwise known as Magic Mushrooms)

  20. This is what Mel Gibson’s movie should have been about.

    So are there any carvings or paintings or such that might depict zombies? Did zombies spring up that quickly and kill everything in such a matter of time that there were no pictures of any kind?

    • #2 Exactly. One of the things that is so strange about the destruction of the Mayan Civilization is precisely that there AREN’T any carvings or historic record. This is a people who built giant temples, had math, written language, and went to great lengths to record their history and beliefs. But at the end, there is nothing. They just vanished. Again, leading to the conclusion that it must have been an extremely fast extermination. Even in a war you would have time to bury the dead and write down the record of what’s happening…

      • Exactly, if this was a war of some sort then they would have had records, a group of people that smart don’t just stop making records suddenly, so even if not a zombie outbreak, it has to have been a quick annihalation.

        • This leads back to ancient aliens. I’m a zombie fan and believe they “could” exist, but the aliens had technology advanced enough to collect and remove all evidence of the “outbreak” that is being theorized. The aliens either vaporized the population or transported them else where.

  21. Definitely an interesting theory. It really does make sense; or at least more sense than any other theory.

    More research required.

  22. Regardless how it went down I like this story better. I think this would be an amazing book 2.

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