AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists   
Type: Paper
Paper Title: ANCIENT MAYA WETLAND FARMING AND NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN THE YALAHAU REGION OF NORTHERN QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO
Author: SCOTT FEDICK, DANIEL LEONARD (U California, Riverside), JENNIFER CHMILAR (U California, Riverside)   
Date/Time: Thu., 2:45 PM
Co-Author(s): SCOTT FEDICK, DANIEL LEONARD (U California, Riverside), JENNIFER CHMILAR (U California, Riverside) 
Abstract: Maya farmers in the lowlands of Mexico were presented with a mosaic of environments creating various opportunities and constraints for land use and food production. The large freshwater wetland system in the Yalahau region of northern Quintana Roo, Mexico, is a unique and biologically diverse ecosystem. While current use of the Yalahau wetlands is limited primarily to subsistence hunting and fishing, archaeological data indicates the ancient Maya were either planting crops in wetlands, or managing aquatic plant and animal resources. Constructed rock alignments have been found in numerous wetlands, and appear in a variety of lengths and orientations, and may have functioned as dikes, dams, soil traps, holding tanks, fish weirs, walkways, and docks. This paper will discuss new research that combines botany, soil studies, and archaeology to investigate ancient use of wetlands in the context of past environmental change, particularly changes in wetland hydrology. Based on the 2010 field season, we will present an updated interpretation of the rock alignments, considering how alignments could have functioned based on their orientation and topographic position, what types of plants could be grown there, and how changing water levels through time may have affected subsistence activities in wetlands. This research is relevant to understanding the ancient subsistence system of the Yalahau region and how it articulates with the history of occupation in the region. Additionally, the environmental and archaeological data developed during these projects will assist current efforts by Yalahau communities to promote sustainable land use and wildlife conservation.

Program Number: 2-0645
Session Title: METHODS IN MESOAMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 1:45 PM-3:30 PM
Organizer(s): ANNUAL MEETING PROGRAM COMMITTEE (AAA) 
Chair(s): HEATHER RICHARDS-RISSETTO  
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