Ancient maya rural settlement patterns, household cooperation, and regional subsistence interdependency in the río bec area: Contributions from g-liht

Scott R. Hutson, Nicholas P. Dunning, Bruce Cook, Thomas Ruhl, Nicolas C. Barth, Daniel Conley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research on intensive agricultural features contributes to the social relations of farming, including the means by which farmers mobilize labor and the possible destination of surplus. Lidar provides high-resolution data on ancient houses and agricultural features at a regional scale. This paper uses lidar data from NASA’s G-LiHT airborne imager to derive insights about rural demography, interhousehold cooperation, and subsistence interdependency among the ancient Maya. We assess the differences in intensity of agricultural investment in rural and urban areas of the Río Bec region of southern Campeche and Quintana Roo, Mexico, leading to inferences about regional food exchange and complex economies. The scale of interconnected ridges and terraces clearly implies interhousehold cooperation, yet this cooperation was not centralized. Rather, we envision a landscape of smallholders who jointly planned the layout and articulation of agricultural features but pooled most of their labor at the level of the household.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-579
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Anthropological Research
Volume77
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The University of New Mexico. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Agricultural intensification
  • Economic anthropology
  • Landesque capital
  • Lidar
  • Maya Lowlands
  • Smallholders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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