Can the Mayans be Dated to the Younger Dryas Ice Age?
How does a story one is told, or that one has read in a textbook become irrefutable historical fact?
Everyone knows the Mayans were a terrifying civilization, steeped in long range calendars, ballgames, pyramids and human sacrifice. They inherited many of these traits from a culture called Olmec, frequently called the ’Mother Culture’ of Mesoamerica, because they gave birth to what became the Mayans, the Aztecs and the Toltecs. The Mayans flourished between 300 to 950 AD and were followed by the Aztecs, who were in power when the Spanish arrived. This is the traditional story, but how much of it is factual?
Mayan architecture is, indeed, spectacular. Tourists flock to be overwhelmed at the sight of the long, steep stairs and monumental extravagance of ruins such as Tikal or Ceibal. When carbon dating and other methods were used to date those structures, traditional history was cast in stone. Even now, if one looks up these magnificent temples in any standard text or Internet site, one will find authoritative statements listing date of construction and occupation, purpose, general description and date of demise. It sounds so official that it is hard to argue about whether or not it is all true.