Persistence of the Anthropocene in the Maya Lowlands

Author(s): Ernesto Arredondo; Luke Auld-Thomas

Year: 2019


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

The Maya Lowlands have been a focus of human development across millennia, and the impact of Maya civilization on this tropical environment has been a focus of sustained research and intense debate. It has become common to discuss environmental crises and societal collapse in the region as analogous to contemporary socio-environmental problems. However, the Anthropocene in the Maya lowlands did not end with the collapse of Maya civilization, nor did environmental conditions ever "recover" to a pre-anthropogenic state. Here we briefly review past collapses in the region and their legacies and follow the evolution of the lowland Maya landscape from 900 A.D. up to 1950, the year when the Great Acceleration is conventionally agreed to have begun. Finally, we offer an approach to the last several decades in the region, focusing on the RBM (Mayan Biosphere Reserve) and the acceleration of anthropogenic forces seeking both to destroy and to protect this delicate and important landscape.

Cite this Record

Persistence of the Anthropocene in the Maya Lowlands. Ernesto Arredondo, Luke Auld-Thomas. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450090)

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): 25907