Rapid Survey, Salvage, and Mapping Using Drones in an Ancient Maya Landscape: New Settlement Revealed at the Crossroads of Saturday Creek, Belize
Saturday Creek is a sizeable Maya site center with an elite residence, three large pyramids, and two ballcourts. While much of the site core is in bush, most of the surrounding area has been cleared for agriculture. While the clearing makes for good visibility, the hinterland settlement has been subject to extensive bulldozing, repeated plowing, and removal of stone over the years, obscuring the smaller mounds and making it difficult to discern them on the ground. In less than two days, we flew two different drones more than 7km2 around Saturday Creek. The drone imagery revealed hundreds of previously unrecorded mounds, particularly dense in the vicinity of a complex resembling an "E-Group" or Maya solar observatory. A systematic surface collection is planned for next season, but a cursory inspection of the mounds shows that many of these structures were continuously occupied with ceramics dating from Preclassic to Postclassic times, suggesting that Saturday Creek was a major focus of population aggregation throughout its long history. The drone results leave little doubt that this locale was a central node in the landscape, arguably because it marked an important crossroads between east-west and north-south trade and communication networks from Preclassic times onward.
SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit http://www.tdar.org/SAA2015 for instructions and more information.
Cite this Record
Rapid Survey, Salvage, and Mapping Using Drones in an Ancient Maya Landscape: New Settlement Revealed at the Crossroads of Saturday Creek, Belize. Mark Willis, Eleanor Harrison-Buck, Chester Walker. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395026)
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;