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Agroforestry and ritual at the ancient Maya center of Lamanai

Lentz, DL; Graham, E; Vinaja, X; Slotten, V; Jain, R; (2016) Agroforestry and ritual at the ancient Maya center of Lamanai. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports , 8 pp. 284-294. 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.06.030. Green open access

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Abstract

Paleoethnobotanical data retrieved from caches of Late Classic to Early Postclassic origin at the ancient Maya site of Lamanai, Belize, revealed carbonized maize kernels, cob fragments, common beans, coyol endocarps, and an abundance of wood charcoal, from both conifer and hardwood tree species. Pinus caribaea (Caribbean pine) was the most ubiquitous species in the Late and Terminal Classic sample set and the weight of Lamanai pine wood charcoal was more than the combined weight of all known archaeobotanical collections from nearby contemporaneous sites. Pollen data from northwestern Belize showed that the pine pollen signature declined during the Late Classic period, a trajectory in keeping with intensive exploitation of the nearby pine savannas as suggested by the contents of Lamanai caches examined in this study. Although Lamanai flourished far into the Postclassic period, pine charcoal use—based on present evidence—declined in Early Postclassic ritual contexts. Concomitantly, an increase in the local pine pollen rain indicated that pine timber stocks rebounded during the Postclassic period. The observed intensive use of pine at Late Classic Lamanai combined with a concurrent decline in the regional pine pollen signature is consistent with a hypothesis of over-exploitation of pine during the Late to Terminal Classic period.

Type: Article
Title: Agroforestry and ritual at the ancient Maya center of Lamanai
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.06.030
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.06.030
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016. This manuscript version is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Non-derivative 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This licence allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work for personal and non-commercial use providing author and publisher attribution is clearly stated. Further details about CC BY licences are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0. Access may be initially restricted by the publisher.
Keywords: Ancient Maya; Paleoethnobotany; Agroforestry; Ritual; Wood identification; Pine; Belize
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1524553
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