Ancient Maya Quarries: Limestone, Chert and Lidar


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Lidar has dramatically expanded our view of the ancient Maya landscape. We have used lidar to study the key natural resources of limestone and chert- their location, extent, and relationship to other ancient Maya features. Limestone was a key building material and chert was the source for most chipped stone tools. Lidar-derived imagery and hydrological modeling informed our reconnaissance surveying at the ancient Maya site of Yaxnohcah, Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Campeche, Mexico. We located extensive areas of limestone quarry pits adjacent to residential ruins. Excavation showed many of these quarries were converted to residential water reservoirs. We located linear, limestone, quarry scarps a half kilometer in length. Lidar shows the scarps are aligned with civic-ceremonial groups, some groups more than three kilometers distant. We located small zones of chert quarries and chert pavements. One zone is a cluster of semi-circular quarries at the intersection of upland and bajo. The zone of chert nodules was quarried in multiple individual semi-circles, rather than one large quarry. This may give an indication of the organization of this economic activity. Limestone quarries appear to be quite extensive, chert quarries quite limited.

Cite this Record

Ancient Maya Quarries: Limestone, Chert and Lidar. Christopher Carr, Jeffrey Brewer, Nicholas Dunning, Kathryn Reese-Taylor, Armando Anaya Hernández. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449659)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23326