April 11, 2019
Extensive Ancient Maya Crop Cultivation Uncovered in the Yucatan
Archaeologists at the University of Cincinnati have found evidence of Maya surplus crop cultivation up and down the Yucatan Peninsula. The cultivation followed paths of canals and water channels. At Laguna de Terminos on the Gulf of Mexico, they expect to find sites as they begin excavations. Satellite images revealed blocks along drainage ditches and then LIDAR was used. The area was covered in ancient farm fields. They Maya straightened the channels and connected them, and expanded the fields with hydro-engineering. The LIDAR images showed an ancient Maya road not traveled in 1000 years.
Nicolas Dunning of the U. Of C. Is working with Kathryn Reese-Taylor from the University of Calgary and Armando Anaya Hernandez from Universidad Autónoma de Campeche looking for ancient Maya marketplaces using LIDAR. Large squares revealed on LIDAR may be the marketplaces they are looking for. UC botanists are analyzing the soil for proof of marketplaces.
The Maya probably sold maize and manioc and bolts of patterned cotton textiles in their trade network. The farmers there today are farming low yield pastures that produce far less than the Maya produced 1000 years ago because the wetlands are being drained for pasture land.
Eurekalert has the report here;
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