Predictive Modeling and the Ancient Maya Landscape

Author(s): Alexander Rivas; Carlos Efrain Tox

Year: 2016


The use of GIS-based analyses has been increasing in archaeology over several years, including predictive modeling from digital elevation models (DEMs). Critics of these methods suggest that these computational approaches leave no room for human agency, and can create improper landscape analyses. However, these methods can be properly used when operating in well-defined theoretical frameworks and correct scale. In this paper, we present recent ground survey data and ethnoarchaeological methods in a GIS to demonstrate how the Maya were able to conduct perennial inland canoe travel during the wet and dry seasons in Peten and Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. This approach shows how predictive modeling can challenge conventional ideas on human interaction with the physical and social landscape among the ancient Maya, specifically in regards to hydrological features, seasonality, and alternative routes.

Cite this Record

Predictive Modeling and the Ancient Maya Landscape. Alexander Rivas, Carlos Efrain Tox. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403430)


Gis Landscape Maya

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;