ANCIENT MAYA WATER MANAGEMENT: ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS AT TURTLE POND, NORTHWESTERN BELIZE
Water is a critical resource for human survival. The ancient Maya, inhabiting an environment with a karstic landscape, semi-tropical climate, and a three month dry season, modified the landscape to create water catchments, drainages, and reservoirs within and surrounding settlement. Water management techniques have been demonstrated in the Maya Lowlands extending back into the Preclassic, approximately 600 BC, at sites such as El Mirador and Nakbe. Into the Classic period, 250 AD – 900 AD, water management features have taken a different form than in the Preclassic; as seen at Tikal and La Milpa. In this thesis, Turtle Pond, a reservoir located on the periphery of the core of La Milpa, is evaluated for modifications to it by the ancient Maya. Turtle Pond was a natural depression that accumulated water for at least part of the year. The ancient Maya then modified it to enhance its water holding potential. Specifically, this thesis investigates a possible channel and berm, an anomalous surface exposure on the south side of the reservoir, as well as sediment deposition and pollen accumulation. Excavation and sediment analysis were the prime methods used to determine anthropogenic modification. Although all indicators of human modifications are not verified, that the ancient Maya were using and modified Turtle Pond is illustrated by the presence of a channel as well as other water management related features and a pollen sequence that suggests human-environment interactions.
School:University of Cincinnati
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:maya water management
Date of Publication:01/01/2005