|About the Book|
Were Maya cities primarily ceremonial centers inhabited by a priestly class and visited by commoners only during religious events? Such was the prevailing view until the 1970s, when a number of fieldworkers proposed that lowland Maya civilizationMoreWere Maya cities primarily ceremonial centers inhabited by a priestly class and visited by commoners only during religious events? Such was the prevailing view until the 1970s, when a number of fieldworkers proposed that lowland Maya civilization could not have depended on the slash-and-burn agriculture now practiced in the region. The numbers of houses being uncovered in the larger cities of Tikal, Mirador, and Calakmul indicated a substantial population level that must have depended on some form of intensive agriculture in the surrounding wetlands.The 1979-81 Pulltrouser Swamp Project in Belize was the foundation of Maya geoarchaeology, a milestone in economic archaeology, and the first attempt to marry theories about ancient Maya intensive agriculture with systematic field investigation. Excavations and surveys revealed raised fields, a large ceremonial site, artificial water channeling, and evidence that the area was continually occupied between the Middle Preclassic to the Early Postclassic -- essentially the height of Maya civilization -- fueling the fierce new debate over ancient Maya subsistence.Previously unpublished, this map collection provides the first major body of settlement data associated with wetlands in the region. Since there have been few subsequent surveys of such magnitude, it will serve as the base-line study. Certainly it throws additional light on the question of how many people could have lived in the Maya cities.The collection is a boxed, embossed set of 12 loose maps in their original size with an accompanying forty page booklet that describes the project and presents photos of the location, fieldwork, and aerial views.