Correlating the Ancient Maya and Modern European Calendars with High-Precision AMS 14C Dating

Kennett, Douglas J.; Hajdas, Irka; Culleton, Brendan J.; Belmecheri, Soumaya; Martin, Simon; Neff, Hector; Awe, Jaime; Graham, Heather V.; Freeman, Katherine H.; Newsom, Lee; Lentz, David L.; Anselmetti, Flavio; Robinson, Mark; Marwan, Norbert; Southon, John; Hodell, David A.; Haug, Gerald H. (2013). Correlating the Ancient Maya and Modern European Calendars with High-Precision AMS 14C Dating. Scientific Reports, 3(1), p. 1597. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/srep01597

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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. We report a series of high-resolution AMS C-14 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 between AD 658-696. This strongly supports the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson (GMT) correlation and the hypothesis that climate change played an important role in the development and demise of this complex civilization.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Quaternary Geology

UniBE Contributor:

Anselmetti, Flavio


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Nature Publishing Group




Flavio Anselmetti

Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2014 09:26

Last Modified:

30 Apr 2017 01:54

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Natural products, Geochemistry, Atmospheric chemistry, Climate-change adaptation




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