Sky-earth, lake-sea: Climate and water in Maya history and landscape

Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, Timothy Beach, Scott Hutson, Samantha Krause

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In recent years, a growing body of research has focused on the importance of water management for ancient Maya societies, and more generally on the cultural and economic significance of water as a resource. But how did this change across the centuries as cycles of drought and sea level rise, together with the growing Maya footprint on the landscape, presented new challenges? As the resolution of climatic records improves, the authors can begin to show in detail how Maya water management responded and adapted to such shifts. This included the manipulation of aguadas and the development of wetland field systems, in the process transforming large areas of the Maya landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-442
Number of pages17
Issue number350
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the National Science Foundation; the National Geographic Society; the University of Texas, Austin C.B. Smith Sr Centennial Chair; the Georgetown University Cinco Hermanos Chair; N. Dunning; F. Valdez, Jr; T. Guderjan; S. Houston; T. Garrison; J. Doyle; B. Dahlin; H. Lopez Rosas; our research host countries of Guatemala, Belize andMexico; our students; and the anonymous reviewers. Errors or omissions are the authors responsibility.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2016.


  • Maya
  • Mesoamerica
  • climate change
  • water management
  • wetlands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Arts and Humanities (all)


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