Past fire dynamics inferred from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and monosaccharide anhydrides in a stalagmite from the archaeological site of Mayapan, Mexico

August 28, 2023

Cave stalagmites contain substances that can be used to reconstruct past changes in local and regional environmental conditions. We used two classes of biomarkers (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and monosaccharide anhydrides) to detect the presence of fire and to also explore changes in fire regime (e.g. fire frequency, intensity, and fuel source). We tested our new method on a stalagmite from Mayapan, a large Maya city on the Yucatán Peninsula.

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