Water Mountains and Water Trails: The View from Northwest Peten


Vernon Scarborough’s path-breaking work on lowland Maya water management has focused attention on the way that the Maya conceptualized and utilized landscape and its water sources for political, religious and economic purposes. Research in northwestern Peten suggests that canoe traffic linked the site of El Achiotal adjacent to the Central Karstic Uplands to the San Pedro Martir River by way of the San Juan River commanded by El Peru-Waka’. The Mirador hill at Waka’ was conceived as a water mountain expressing dominion over the surrounding water trails. Control of Waka’ and its water trails was contested by regional hegemons during the Classic Period. We review the evidence.

Cite this Record

Water Mountains and Water Trails: The View from Northwest Peten. David Freidel, Mary Jane Acuna, Carlos Chiriboga. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403504)


Landscape Maya water

Geographic Keywords
Central America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;