14C and Maya Long Count dates: using Bayesian modeling to develop robust site chronologies

Author(s): Gerardo Aldana

Year: 2015


Bayesian Statistics has now demonstrated its strong utility in archaeology, specifically through software that conditions radiocarbon data. Only recently has this technology been applied within Maya archaeology, however, in part because the Mayan calendar provides a much greater resolution in dating archaeological events than is possible with radiocarbon data. The Long Count in particular allows for the assignment of some events relative to each other, accurate to the day. In this paper, a new approach is presented to incorporate robust records of both in the same Bayesian analysis through the software OxCal. The results do call for a reconsideration of the earliest radiocarbon studies in the Maya area from the 1960s, as well as the latest attempts to corroborate the currently popular calendar correlation known as the GMT. This new study demonstrates the value of the approach and corroborates the 1-σ accuracy of the GMT, while at the same time opening up the possibility of revision by 20 or more years.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit http://www.tdar.org/SAA2015 for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

14C and Maya Long Count dates: using Bayesian modeling to develop robust site chronologies. Gerardo Aldana. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398237)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;