The 2017-2018 Mesoamerica Center Colloquium Series

Mon. October 30 2017, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Please join us for the October talk in the 2017-2018 Mesoamerica Center Colloquium Series, in conjunction with the AIA events during Archaeology Month!
Monday October 30th, 4-5 PM, DFA 2.204
"Water Management and Landesque Capital in the Maya Lowlands: Twenty Years of Digging and Two Days of LiDAR" by Dr. Timothy Beach, The University of Texas at Austin

Free and open to the public


 

Abstract:

Our understanding of Maya hydraulics and agroecosystems has entered a period of great dynamism with the rapid expansion of LiDAR imagery. The Soils and Geomorphology Lab at UT Austin in Geography acquired nearly 300 square km of LiDAR imagery that covers large areas of ancient Maya wetland fields and many reservoirs for the first time. The coverage indicates both wide-scale wetland canal and field systems, water management, and intensive, polycultural complexes of upland terraces and wetland fields. Over the last 15 years, we tested many such systems with excavations and multiple proxies for past formation and cultivation. But, the LiDAR imagery shows we studied only a small spatial sample of these systems. We present what we now know based on excavations from Lamanai to Sierra de Agua, and use the LiDAR​ imagery to outline our future plan to obtain a more geographically representative sample. Our goal here is to contextualize wetland agriculture and water management both diachronically and synchronically within Maya History.

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