Ancient Maya Plant Use In the Mopan River Valley, Belize

Author(s): Rebecca Friedel

Year: 2016


The Mopan River valley was home to a number of pre-Hispanic Maya polities, including both political centers and rural communities. The forests and plant products grown in the region played crucial roles in the lifeways of these Maya, providing food, fuel, construction materials, and medicine. This paper presents preliminary results from the analysis of macrobotanical remains recovered through flotation by the Mopan Valley Archaeological Project and Mopan Valley Preclassic Project. These plant remains come from both monumental centers like Xunantunich and Buenavista del Cayo, and rural settlements like San Lorenzo. They derive from a variety of archaeological contexts, including commoner and elite residences and public ritual areas. Temporally, the samples span various important transformations in the valley’s social history including the development of complexity during the Preclassic period, the political florescence during the Late Classic period, and the collapse of divine kingship associated with a large-scale depopulation of the area in the Terminal Classic period. The results will be discussed in terms of what they reveal about elite and commoner lifeways and broader sociopolitical dynamics.

Cite this Record

Ancient Maya Plant Use In the Mopan River Valley, Belize. Rebecca Friedel. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405242)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

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