The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, June 22, 2017


Archaeologists uncover new clues to Maya collapse
Archaeologists excavate the royal palace of Ceibal, which was burned during the Classic Maya collapse in the ninth century. Photo: Takeshi Inomata/University of Arizona.

by Alexis Blue


TUCSON, AZ.- Using the largest set of radiocarbon dates ever obtained from a single Maya site, archaeologists have developed a high-precision chronology that sheds new light on patterns leading up to the two major collapses of the ancient civilization.

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.

"What we found out is that those two cases of collapse (Classic and Preclassic) follow similar patterns," said Inomata, the paper's lead author and a professor in the School of Anthropology in the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "It's not just a simple collapse, but there are waves of collapse. First, there are smaller waves, tied to warfare and some political instability, then comes the major collapse, in which many centers got abandoned. Then there was some recovery in some places, then another collapse."

Using radiocarbon dating and data from ceramics and highly controlled archaeological excavations, the researchers were able to establish the refined chronology of when population sizes and building construction increased and decreased at Ceibal.

While the findings may not solve the mystery of why exactly the Maya collapses occurred, they are an important step toward better understanding how they unfolded.

"It's really, really interesting that these collapses both look very similar, at very different time periods," said Melissa Burham, one of three UA anthropology graduate students who co-authored the paper. "We now have a good understanding of what the process looked like, that potentially can serve as a template for other people to try to see if they have a similar pattern at their (archaeological) sites in the same area."

Inomata and his UA colleagues — anthropology professor Daniela Triadan and students Burham, Jessica MacLellan and Juan Manuel Palomo — worked with collaborators at Ibaraki University, Naruto University of Education and the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan, and with Guatemalan archaeologists and students.

Radiocarbon dating was done at Paleo Laboratory Company in Japan and at the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory in the UA Department of Physics.

"Radiocarbon dating has been used for a long time, but now we're getting to an interesting period because it's getting more and more precise," said Inomata, who also is an Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in Environment and Social Justice at the UA. "We're getting to the point where we can get to the interesting social patterns because the chronology is refined enough, and the dating is precise enough."

Inomata's research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Geographic Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation and the UA's Agnes Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice.






Today's News

January 26, 2017

The Museo Nacional de Arte will be directed by Dr. Sara Gabriela Baz Sánchez

Ancient female skeleton from Troy yields oldest known form of maternal infection

Collection of Robsjohn-Gibbings midcentury furniture to be sold

Archaeologists uncover new clues to Maya collapse

Hauser & Wirth Zürich opens exhibition focused on early works by Henry Moore

Richter's "Eisberg" to lead Sotheby's London Contemporary Sales

Salvador Dali's controversial portrait of his sister leads Bonhams sale

US television icon Mary Tyler Moore dead at 80

MAXXI announces launch of JACK contemporary arts TV

Exhibition of paintings by William N. Copley opens at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Extensive show of James Coleman's work on view at Marian Goodman Gallery

Exhibition juxtaposes Lina Bo Bardi's "Casa de Vidro" inside Sverre Fehn's glass Pavilion from 2008

Musée de l’Elysée opens first exhibition to focus on mountain photography

Whitney announces two curatorial appointments

Phillips promotes Peter Sumner to Deputy Chairman, Europe, and Senior International Specialist

Americana Week achieves highest total in a decade at Sotheby's New York

Live online sale on February 12 features 200+ lots of top-quality Navajo, Zuni and Hopi jewelry

The Museum Tinguely opens first major monographic exhibition of British artist Stephen Cripps

Maddox Gallery opens exhibition of works by award-winning young Italian artist Riccardo Prosperi

Carnegie Hall plans season of Philip Glass for anniversary

Allman Brothers drummer Trucks dead at 69

Life imitating art: '1984' a best-seller again

First comprehensive career survey aexhibition of Cary Leibowitz's work opens in San Francisco

Harvard's Fruitlands Museum celebrates the National Park Service with photographs by Xiomaro

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Art community remains divided over Caravaggio found in French attic

2.- Stedelijk Museum presents a snapshot of Rineke Dijkstra's photographic and video work

3.- Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens mourns death of Dina Merrill

4.- Exhibition of new paintings by Gerhard Richter opens at Albertinum in Dresden

5.- 18th-century French paintings from across America on view at National Gallery of Art

6.- Major retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg opens at the Museum of Modern Art

7.- Canaletto exhibition reunites two of the Venetian master's greatest series of paintings

8.- King Tutankhamun's bed, chariot paraded through Cairo to new home

9.- Junk sale diamond ring bought for £10 worth a fortune

10.- Exhibition sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century: What will we eat in the future?



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful