Feasts for the People, Crumbs for the Bird: Communicating Archaeological Data on Ancient Crop Diversity


This is an abstract from the "Advancing Public Perceptions of Sustainability through Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Food security and food adequacy are at the core of many sustainability debates. Growing urban populations and a simultaneous decline in staple crops are severe threats to both. While the relation between rising demographics and subsistence has been a focus of scholarly debate in anthropology, crop diversity in ancient agrosystems is generally not. These theoretical discussions have centered on calories per unit of surface area and starch is responsible for most caloric provisioning by plants. This paper draws on a microbotanical database for ancient Maya cities from three different geographical districts and varying time periods, therefore enabling comparative analyses between urban communities and tracing crop-diversity over time. Regarding outreach to local communities, our proposal relies on a double appeal as contemporary Yucatecos exhibit considerable interest in both ancient Maya culture and cuisine. We propose to organize gatherings that allow for informal exchange of ideas, structured presentations of diet-related research, as well as culinary experimentation with identified ancient plant-foods. Finally, our strategy to communicate nationally and/or globally builds upon the far-reaching impact of social networks by creating fact-based social media content that is consciously crafted to impact a broader audience whose information consumption patterns have changed dramatically over the past decade.

Cite this Record

Feasts for the People, Crumbs for the Bird: Communicating Archaeological Data on Ancient Crop Diversity. Mario Zimmermann, Gabriel Ortiz A la triste. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450656)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25012