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The Wet or the Dry?

Agricultural intensification in the Maya Lowlands
  • Jeffrey L. Baker
Part of the Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation book series (STHE, volume 3)

Abstract

Understanding how food is obtained or how it is produced and how it moves from producer to consumer is essential to understanding how a society functions. Archaeologists in general, and Mayanists in particular, have been poor at understanding how agricultural systems function within complex societies, or how and why agricultural systems change. Utilizing data from the Maya Lowlands, this paper will first examine historical models of Maya agricultural systems and contrast these models with ethnographic data on twentieth century Maya farmers. This paper will then discuss the nature of the archaeological record at the site of Blue Creek in northwestern Belize (Figure 1). The initial examination of the agricultural economy at Blue Creek will focus upon the system as it might have existed in the Late Classic (Table 1). This will be followed by a discussion of the evidence for agricultural practices in the millennium and a half prior to the Late Classic. The shortcomings of the agricultural data will then be used to discuss attempts by archaeologists to understand the intensification process.

Keywords

Late Classic Agricultural Intensification Arboreal Pollen Ethnographic Data Seasonal Wetland 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey L. Baker
    • 1
  1. 1.EcoPlan Associates, Inc.Mesa

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