Correlating the ancient Maya and modern european calendars with high-precision AMS 14C dating

Douglas J. Kennett, Irka Hajdas, Brendan J. Culleton, Soumaya Belmecheri, Simon Martin, Hector Neff, Jaime Awe, Heather V. Graham, Katherine H. Freeman, Lee Newsom, David L. Lentz, Flavio S. Anselmetti, Mark Robinson, Norbert Marwan, John Southon, David A. Hodell, Gerald H. Haug

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29 Scopus citations


The reasons for the development and collapse of Maya civilization remain controversial and historical events carved on stone monuments throughout this region provide a remarkable source of data about the rise and fall of these complex polities. Use of these records depends on correlating the Maya and European calendars so that they can be compared with climate and environmental datasets. Correlation constants can vary up to 1000 years and remain controversial.Wereport a series of high-resolution AMS14C dates on a wooden lintel collected from the Classic Period city of Tikal bearing Maya calendar dates. The radiocarbon dates were calibrated using a Bayesian statistical model and indicate that the dates were carved on the lintel betweenAD 658-696. This strongly supports the Goodman-Mart?nez-Thompson (GMT) correlation and the hypothesis that climate change played an important role in the development and demise of this complex civilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1597
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - Apr 11 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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