January 23, 2017

All fall down. . . .twice.

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:49 pm

Archaeologists uncover new clues to Maya collapse

Archaeologists have long puzzled over what caused what is known as the Classic Maya collapse in the ninth century A.D., when many of the ancient civilization’s cities were abandoned. More recent investigations have revealed that the Maya also experienced an earlier collapse in the second century A.D. — now called the Preclassic collapse — that is even more poorly understood.

University of Arizona archaeologist Takeshi Inomata and his colleagues suggest in a new paper, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that both collapses followed similar trajectories, with multiple waves of social instability, warfare and political crises leading to the rapid fall of many city centers.

The findings are based on a highly refined chronology developed by Inomata and his colleagues using an unprecedented 154 radiocarbon dates from the archaeological site of Ceibal in Guatemala, where the team has worked for over a decade.

While more general chronologies might suggest that the Maya collapses occurred gradually, this new, more precise chronology indicates more complex patterns of political crises and recoveries leading up to each collapse.

As they note, they don’t really explain why, but getting a handle on the chronology is a big first step.


  1. I can’t resist. I’m going to be the eager LDS person anxious to point out how this fits with Book of Mormon chronology as related in 4 Nephi. (OK, now no one else needs to do it. I got here first. :) ) Not saying that it PROVES anything, but it sure makes it look less implausible. ;)

    Comment by C T — January 25, 2017 @ 1:27 pm

  2. Possible disease outbreaks due to inadvertent African or European travelers?
    BTW, see “, “Westviking” and “The Farfarers” on the pre-Columbian issue. Unfortunately, auto spell doesn’t let me add Farley’ s last name.

    Comment by Richard Aubrey — January 29, 2017 @ 9:38 am

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