Charcoal Analysis to Reconstruct the Ancient Wood Economy of Naachtun

Author(s): Lydie Dussol; Michelle Elliott

Year: 2016


Researchers have long considered that the relations between ancient Maya societies and their tropical forested landscape significantly affected social and environmental development throughout the Maya Lowlands. The lingering debate contrasting the hypothesis of a massive deforestation during the Classic period with a model of careful environmental management has not been resolved, and places forest resources exploitation at the center of the rise and development of ancient Maya cities. In particular, wood is an essential resource, abundant in such environments but still exhaustible, and can therefore constitute a key economic and ecological indicator in the study of ancient societies.

The systematic and diachronic anthracological study of Naachtun aims to understand the global wood economy of the site as well as the impact of human activities on the evolution of local forested areas through time. Charcoal assemblages are interpreted in terms of firewood collection strategies, sources of supply, and sylviculture practices. Furthermore, issues related to the representativeness of the charcoal records are discussed. This theoretical framework allows greater understanding of the co-evolution between Naachtun’s society and its environment.

Cite this Record

Charcoal Analysis to Reconstruct the Ancient Wood Economy of Naachtun. Lydie Dussol, Michelle Elliott. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403905)


Spatial Coverage

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