Radio-carbon and the Long Count

New carbon-14 tests of one of the famous carved wooden lintels from Tikal generally confirm the long-established GMT correlations of the Maya Long Count calendar, as explained in a new press release from Penn State University. This is not the first test of the calendar correlation against radio carbon data — such efforts began some 50 years ago — but it does use the latest calibration methods.

The original study from Nature can be found here.

4 thoughts on “Radio-carbon and the Long Count

  1. Carlos Barrera Atuesta April 14, 2013 / 7:48 PM

    In 1959 the uncertainty threshold was 746±34 years for lintels of 741 AD. Does anyone know what the new estimated value is?

  2. David Stuart April 15, 2013 / 2:46 PM

    I just updated the post and added a link to the original study in Nature. Hopefully the answer to your question lies within (I haven’t yet looked).

  3. Kari Jokela April 21, 2013 / 8:00 AM

    Dear David Stuart

    This is an interesting verification on the GMT chronology, even though there has not been much doubt about it’s validity.

    I wonder whether there are any data available on the tree ring chronology in Jukatan ?. By matching tree ring patterns from specimens taken from trees grown at different times it is possible to create a precise chronology spanning over thousands of years. Additionally the width of tree rings provides information on the growing conditions, particularly on the precipitation and temperature. These are vital factors when considering influence of the climate change on the classic Maya culture.

    Best Regards

    Kari Jokela