Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/15/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Mayan calendar system failed to predict doomsday but was accurate in regards to end of Maya

The world did not end on December 21 last year, which was suggested by the ancient Mayan calendar. Scientists now say that the Mayan calendar was - in another way, quite accurate about predicting the end of the Mayan civilization. According to new research, Maya culture collapsed a thousand years ago because it failed to cope with climate change. Instead of a cosmic cataclysm, Mayan life was wiped out by drought, researchers say.

The Mayans had developed a sophisticated society, accurate calendars and complex architecture. Mayans thrived during rainy periods but a prolonged drought somewhere between 800 and 1100 A.D. is said to have brought about its collapse.

The Mayans had developed a sophisticated society, accurate calendars and complex architecture. Mayans thrived during rainy periods but a prolonged drought somewhere between 800 and 1100 A.D. is said to have brought about its collapse.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/15/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Maya, Mayan civilization, drougght, climate change, carbon dating


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists reanalyzed a wooden beam from a Guatemalan temple, originally radiocarbon-tested in 1960.

The Mayans had developed a sophisticated society, accurate calendars and complex architecture. Mayans thrived during rainy periods but a prolonged drought somewhere between 800 and 1100 A.D. is said to have brought about its collapse.

Experts had long struggled to match dates from the Mayan Long Count calendar with the modern European calendar. The Long Count system comprised 20-day cycles made up of k'in, which formed 360-day cycles known as tuns. It was only after another unit, b'ak'tun, represented a cycle of 400 years, and it was the ending of one of these that led to the belief of the apocalypse in 2012.

Archaeologist Douglas Kennett from Pennsylvania State University applied modern carbon dating methods to a lintel, carved with historical records, found at Tikal, which was a major Mayan city.

Kennett wished to verify the accuracy of the dating: 50 years ago, as other researchers at the university reckoned the beam had been carved between AD 695 and 712.

"When looking at how climate affects the rise and fall of the Maya, I began to question how accurately the two calendars correlated using those methods," Kennett said.

Kennett and his team looked at the tree rings in the wood. The date they arrived at was around AD 658-696, which backed up the original correlation estimates.

These two estimates match up even more closely after factoring in the removal of ten to 15 years of wood growth while the carving took place.

The lintel they analyzed concerned the defeat of Tick'aak K'ahk', king of the nearby city of Calakmul, by Tikal's leader Jasaw Chan K'awiil. This discovery re-confirmed the theory that the victory was in 695 A.D., 13 years after Jasaw Chan K'awiil took to the throne.

"These events and those recorded at cities throughout the Maya lowlands can now be harmonized with greater assurance to other environmental, climatic and archaeological datasets," researchers wrote.
 
The findings were compared against a so-called "war index," the dates of hostile events which Maya people recorded on stone monuments. It was found that war and unrest matched periods of drought.

Conversely, during periods of plentiful rain, the Maya civilization expanded into large cities.

As recently published in the journal Science, the study described how Maya rulers commissioned monuments to record events and the research team found the frequency of texts carved in stone indicating rivalry, war and alliances increased significantly between 660 and 900 A.D., during the drying trend.

"It is not just climate drying and drought that is important, but the preceding conditions that helped stimulate societal complexity and population expansion," Kennett says. "This set the stage for societal stress and the fragmentation of political institutions later in time as conditions became drier."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Americas

Was it really a meteorite? NASA scientists remain skeptical about Nicaraguan crater Watch

Image of A meteorite from a passing asteroid may have caused a crater in Nicaragua on the evening of September 6.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A meteorite crashed in Managua, Nicaragua, late on the evening of September 6, causing a loud explosion and leaving a crater 39 feet across, Nicaraguan government officials reported. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nicaraguan spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said ... continue reading


These 14th century artifacts are headed back to their proper home Watch

Image of 14th century artifacts from Colombia being displayed in a Spanish museum.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Spain has returned 691 indigenous artifacts to Colombia, which were seized during a police operation 11 years ago LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most of these ceramic items are of huge cultural and archaeological value, and date to around 1400 BC. They had been ... continue reading


Is the Islamic State - In Mexico? Officials deny 'car bombing' rumors Watch

Image of While it's nightmarishly plausible - and there have been warnings from the international community to the United States as such, the Department of Homeland Security has denied claims on from a watchdog group that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has militants stationed in Juarez, Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it's nightmarishly plausible - and there have been warnings from the international community to the United States as such, the Department of Homeland Security has denied claims on from a watchdog group that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has ... continue reading


Deadly silence: 92,000 Columbians remain missing Watch

Image of Around 4,000 graves have been discovered and 5,000 bodies found, following the confessions of scores of paramilitary warlords.

By Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation

More than 92,000 Colombians have disappeared during 50 years of war and at the hands of drug gangs, and the government needs to step up efforts to find missing people, the Red Cross said. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Every day nine people are reported missing ... continue reading


GOING DIGITAL: Ecuador plans digital currency Watch

Image of Some believe that Ecuador's new digital currency will eventually lead to the nation's abandonment of paper and coin currency altogether - i.e., the United States dollar.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a bold move into the 21st Century, the South American nation of Ecuador is now planning digital currency. Some believe this will eventually lead to the nation's abandonment of paper and coin currency altogether - i.e., the United States dollar. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


California Governor: 'You're all welcome,' even illegal immigrants Watch

Image of California Governor Jerry Brown meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

California Governor Jerry Brown in a speech this week declared that all Mexicans, including illegal immigrants, are welcome in California. While introducing Mexican President Enrique Pe√Īa Nieto, who said America is "the other Mexico," Brown "spoke about the ... continue reading


Argentine president may take drastic measures to deal with debt Watch

Image of Argentinian President Cristina FernŠndez praised her nation's financial system as being

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Argentinian President Cristina Fern√°ndez praised her nation's financial system as being "one of the most solid in the world" during a speech at the Buenos Aires stock exchange last week. Many disagree, saying that they fear the mercurial president may go to ... continue reading


GRISLY HARVEST: Mexican children, adults murdered for their organs Watch

Image of Victims targeted by organ harvesters usually range in age from seven to 10 years while younger children are often kidnapped for adoption.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The already rampant criminal network in Mexico and South America, in addition to dealing drugs, has taken to abducting children and adults in order to murder then and harvest their vital organs. The lucrative, underground business of livers, lungs and eyes to ... continue reading


MASSIVE ACID SPILL: Mexico closes 88 schools after 10 million gallons of acid spills from copper mine Watch

Image of Officials are working to de-acidify the two rivers by adding heaps of calcium to the water. Acid levels are dropping, Mexico's National Water Commission said, but the water is still not totally safe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An ecological disaster of momentous proportion is unfolding near the U.S. - Mexico border after a massive acid spill from a copper mine has found its way into waterways. Up to 5,000 school children will be kept out of 88 schools for a week as 800,000 people ... continue reading


The new favorite weapon of the drug cartels has arrived in America -- and it will shock you Watch

Image of Mexican soldiers with hundreds of bricks of marijuana, which is about to be burned.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mexican drug cartels are utilizing a deadly military weapon to keep local residents in terror and protect drug stockpiles. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Authorities on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border say that the cartels are using the grenades. Four live ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 12:31--13:13
31 Set your mind on the higher gifts. And now I am ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:2-3, 4-5, 12, 22
2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:31-35
31 'What comparison, then, can I find for the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 17th, 2014 Image

St. Robert Bellarmine
September 17: Born at Montepulciano, Italy, October 4, 1542, St. Robert ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter