Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ancient Maya Reservoirs and their Role in the Abandonment of Tikal, Guatemala: A Multi-Proxy Investigation of Solid Sediment Cores
by Tamberino, Anthony T., M.A., University of Cincinnati, 2013, 175; 1548561
Abstract (Summary)

The Temple-Palace-Hidden Reservoir complex at Tikal, Guatemala provides insights into human adaptation to fluctuations in water resource availability for almost three thousand years. This thesis examines the question of why the ancient Maya city-state of Tikal was abandoned. Two hypotheses associated with Tikal's reservoir system address possible reasons for abandonment of Tikal. Both hypotheses address a Late Holocene drought, which would have led to insufficient recharge in anthropogenic and natural water features of Tikal. A multi-proxy investigation of solid sediment cores extracted from these features will be used to evaluate the hypotheses.

Evidence of a Late Holocene drought at Tikal comes from environmental, paleoclimatic, and paleoenvironmental proxies. A review of the history and geography of the Maya Area is provided to determine, in part, if the reservoirs at Tikal remained undisturbed since the Classic Maya abandonment and a geographic visualization of past monumental architecture within the relevant Temple-Palace-Hidden Reservoir system drainage basin is presented to establish the possible sources of anthropogenic, volcanogenic, and non-volcanic reservoir sediments. Reservoir sediments are dated to using ceramic chronology and AMS radiocarbon dating.

An integration of environmental proxies including magnetic susceptibility, sediment sort, Munsell color, and particle size analysis are used to illustrate varying shifts from cold and dry to warm and wet climatic periods. At least one of the cold and dry climatic period, possibly occurring during the Terminal Classic (A.D. 800 - 925) at Tikal, was both AMS radiocarbon dated and relatively dated from reservoir sediments.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Scarborough, Vernon
Commitee: Tankersley, Kenneth
School: University of Cincinnati
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: MAI 52/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, Cultural anthropology, Latin American history
Keywords: Abandonment, Guatemala, Maya, Reservoirs, Tikal
Publication Number: 1548561
ISBN: 978-1-303-57810-6
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