The ancient Inca citadel of
Richard Burger, an anthropology professor at Yale, led a team of researchers in the recent
So, why exactly did historians have it wrong to begin with? The report describes that researchers had to rely on written accounts of the time. “The scarcity of reliable radiocarbon measurements for Machu Picchu was the result of a widely held opinion among archaeologists working in the Andes that such analyses were unnecessary because the accurate dating of Inca sites such as Machu Picchu could be established on the basis of Spanish historical accounts,” the study explains. “Until recently, archaeological work at Cuzco has produced few radiocarbon dates for Inca-period sites, and even recent in-depth studies have relied on Spanish chronicles for dating.”
The new data has much a larger impact than simply correcting history books. The updated timeline will allow historians to put together a much more accurate account of the incredibly successful Inca empire. “Perhaps the time has come for the radiocarbon evidence to assume priority in reconstructions of the chronology of the Inca emperors and the dating of Inca monumental sites such as Machu Picchu.”
For more information on the AMS data from Machu Picchu in Cuzco, Peru, read the full study
Researchers used radiocarbon dating to find that the ancient Peruvian site of Machu Picchu is older than we previously thought.