The lowland Maya adapted to their changing environment in different ways, and are thought to have abandoned their cities in response to a devastating drought around 730-900 CE. This project converts real geochemical data and the archaeological site of Itzan into a high fidelity visualization representing the changing population, vegetation, and climate of the ancient Maya population over 6000 years. The project moves beyond conventional data visualisation to create an affectual experience that enables new ways for spectators to understand complex patterns found in scientific data.

Benjamin Keenan, Timothy Thomasson (UK)
Benjamin is an interdisciplinary biogeochemist interested in using insights from the past to inform responses to contemporary issues, such as anthropogenic climate change. Benjamin’s PhD used a combination of organic geochemical proxies applied to a lake sediment core from northern Guatemala to reconstruct the changing climate, population, vegetation, and fire use over 6000 years around the ancient Maya population centre of Itzan. Timothy Thomasson is a digital artist who works primarily with computer animation, and utilizes real-time computer graphics technologies in many of his works to create continually generative environments and systems.