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Where and How did the Maya Practice Agriculture in the Classic Period City of Naachtun, Guatemala?

Author(s): Louise Purdue ; Cyril Castanet ; Lydie Dussol ; Eva Lemonnier ; Aline Garnier

Year: 2016

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Summary

Maya communities occupied and cultivated the tropical lowlands of Naachtun (Peten, Guatemala) for nearly a millennia (AD 150-950). Major goals of the Peten-Norte Naachtun project include understanding why the city was founded, the reasons for its development and why it was abandoned. Due to constraining environmental conditions (non-permanent water supply, shallow soils), the availability and management of water and soil resources in the city and around the bajo are closely tied to settlement pattern dynamics. To discuss this issue, a systematic field geoarchaeological, agronomical, chronological and cartographic study was conducted in the city. Combined with laboratory studies (paleoecology, micromorphology), this study has allowed us to identify areas where agriculture and water management was practiced, define the technical systems in use (type of culture, agricultural practices, soil properties) and characterize their evolution through time. Four major hydro-agrosystems will be presented here: artificial areas supplied by small reservoirs (terraces, anthrosols), agriculture on natural soils, topographical depressions cultivated or exploited for water, drainage structures evacuating runoff water rich in sediments towards the bajo/reservoirs. They can be related to changing climatic conditions and phases of land anthropisation, and allow for an illustration of systemic answers to ecological and social issues.


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Cite this Record

Where and How did the Maya Practice Agriculture in the Classic Period City of Naachtun, Guatemala?. Louise Purdue, Cyril Castanet, Lydie Dussol, Eva Lemonnier, Aline Garnier. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403904)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America