The Ancient Maya Landscape Footprint: How Many, and How Large were the Feet?

Authors: Nicholas Dunning*, University of Cincinnati, Thomas Ruhl, University of Cincinnati, Christopher Carr, University of Cincinnati, Jeffrey Brewer, University of Cincinnati, Ivan Šprajc, Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Kathryn Reese-Taylor, University of Calgary, Armando Anaya Hernández, Universidad Autónoma de Campeche
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Latin America, Anthropocene
Keywords: Maya archaeology, remote sensing
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 36
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Views on the degree to which the ancient Maya altered the natural environment have varied greatly over the past century from relatively small populations with comparatively low impacts to teeming populations with huge and lasting impacts. The introduction of airborne lidar surveys provides a new means of addressing the extent to which the ancient Maya modified their landscape. Data indicate that impacts varied considerably across space. Understanding variation across time requires additional archaeological and geoarchaeological data. We review lidar data from NASA’s G-LiHT survey across portions of the Yucatan Peninsula in terms of structure density, landesque capital, and environmental context. These data are compared with areas within the Calakmul Biosphere Preserve with wider lidar coverage and supporting archaeological data.

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