Arising from the Bajos: The Evolution of a Neotropical Landscape and the Rise of Maya Civilization

  title={Arising from the Bajos: The Evolution of a Neotropical Landscape and the Rise of Maya Civilization},
  author={Nicholas P. Dunning and Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach and Timothy P. Beach and John Glendon Jones and Vernon L. Scarborough and T. Patrick Culbert},
  journal={Annals of the Association of American Geographers},
  pages={267 - 283}
The conjunctive use of paleoecological and archaeological data to document past human-environment relationships has become a theoretical imperative in the study of ancient cultures. Geographers are playing leading roles in this scholarly effort. Synthesizing both types of data, we argue that large karst depressions known as bajos in the Maya Lowlands region were anthropogenically transformed from perennial wetlands and shallow lakes to seasonal swamps between 400 bc and ad 250. This… 
The Maya Preclassic to Classic transition observed through faunal trends from Ceibal, Guatemala
The results of the faunal analysis at Ceibal show how the ancient Maya had a complex and ever-changing relationship with the local wildlife, with outcomes that can still be observed in the environment today.
Impacts of Climate Change on the Collapse of Lowland Maya Civilization
Paleoclimatologists have discovered abundant evidence that droughts coincided with collapse of the Lowland Classic Maya civilization, and some argue that climate change contributed to societal
The Nature and Origins of Linear Features in the Bajo de Azúcar, Guatemala: Implications for Ancient Maya Adaptation to a Changing Environment
Scholars have long puzzled over the ancient human use of swampy depressions (bajos) in the interior part of the Maya Lowlands. Part of this debate has centered on the reputed, but undocumented,
A Paleoecological Record from a Late Classic Maya Reservoir in the North Petén
Abstract Aguada Zacatal is a reservoir located within a bajo 4 km west of Nakbe, Petén, Guatemala. It is 100 m in diameter and the surrounding berm is approximately 1 m tall. The small Classic period
Zooarchaeological Habitat Analysis Of Ancient Maya Landscape Changes
Abstract Consensus has not yet been reached regarding the role of human-caused environmental change in the history of Classic Maya civilization. On one side of the debate, researchers argue that
Climate and cultural history of the Northeastern Yucatan Peninsula, Quintana Roo, Mexico
We inferred the Holocene paleoclimate history of the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, by studying stratigraphic variations in stable isotopes (δ18O and δ13C) and lithologic properties (organic


Possible role of climate in the collapse of Classic Maya civilization
THE Maya civilization developed around 3,000 years ago in Mesoamerica, and after flourishing during the so-called Classic period, it collapsed around 750–900 AD1. It has been specula ted2–6 that
Human-Environment Interactions in a Tropical Watershed: The Paleoecology of Laguna Tamarindito, El Petén, Guatemala
AbstractQuestions of past human-environment interactions are best addressed by a research agenda that recovers complementary archaeological and paleoenvironmental data. We have used such an approach
A Holocene vegetation history from lowland Guatemala
A 5.45-m core from Lake Peten-Itza, lowland Guatemala, contains a near-complete record of Holo cene sedimentation. The age-depth relationship for the core is based on AMS 14C dating of terrestrial
Accelerated soil erosion around a Mexican highland lake caused by prehispanic agriculture
THE severely degraded landscape of the volcanic highlands of central Mexico has been the focus of considerable debate1–5. Although it is widely believed that the Spanish encountered an almost
Wetland Agriculture in Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica
U NTIL the late 1960s the swidden thesis was the usual explanation for preHispanic Mayan subsistence.1 By that time archaeological research in the Mayan-occupied lowlands indicated higher population
Archaeological and ecological investigations in the Mirador Basin of northern Guatemala have recovered archaeological, phytolith, palynological, and pedological data relevant to the early occupation
The Americas before and after 1492: An Introduction to Current Geographical Research
Abstract The controversy over the Columbian Quincentenary identifies two broad issues of fundamental interest to geography: (a) the decimation and displacement of indigenous peoples, leading to
Ridged Fields and Associated Features in Southern Campeche: New Perspectives on the Lowland Maya
Abstract Prehistoric ridged fields and canals were recognized from the air in 1968 along the Candelaria River of Campeche, Mexico, in the vicinity of sites described by E. Willys Andrews in 1943.
Human Impact on Ancient Environments
Human Impact on Ancient Environments demonstrates how archaeological research can provide unique insights into the nature of human stewardship of the Earth and can permanently alter the way the authors think about humans and the environment.
Platforms in the akalche at E1 Mirador, Peten, Guatemala and their implications
Late Preclassic Period platforms were surveyed and test-excavated in a seasonal swamp or akalche, at the large ancient lowland Maya site of El Mirador in Peten, Guatemala. Pedological, hydrological,