Coastal Hydrogeological Context of Potable Water Sources of the Vista Alegre Maya Port Site, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Ongoing investigation at the ancient Maya port site of Vista Alegre has revealed a multi-phased and significant occupation spanning the Preclassic to Postclassic periods. However, the vital source of potable water that would have supported this coastal settlement remains unknown. We present a hydrogeological assessment of the region to understand changing water sources over the last 2 millennia. Potential groundwater foci at the intersections of conjugate fracture sets are presently either mantled in sediments, and/or flooded by saline-hypersaline waters. Nearby surface drainage from rain-fed savannas also has seasonally variable salinity commonly exceeding potable limits. A number of shallow springs discharge a range of reduced salinity and cooler waters. These are locally called Ojos de Aguas, a form of flooded sinkhole. Casting the coastal landscape under the marginally lower sea levels of the late Holocene (-2m), some of the known ojos would have been terrestrial sinkholes/cenotes above sea level. Recent evidence indicates a downward tectonic movement of the Yucatan north coast, which would further leave the ojos unaffected by direct mixing with marine waters. Vista Alegre’s inhabitants may have benefited from cenote potable perennial water sources that are now clandestine due to the sea level and tectonic shifts.
Cite this Record
Coastal Hydrogeological Context of Potable Water Sources of the Vista Alegre Maya Port Site, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Patricia A. Beddows, Dominique Rissolo, Emiliano Monroy-Rios, Dominique Meyer, Beverly Goodman-Tchernov. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445397)
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min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;
Abstract Id(s): 22584