My interest in ancient Maya agriculture began late in the year of 1971 when William M. Denevan encouraged me to pursue the topic. Our interests had been perked by reports from Joseph W. Ball, JaCk Eaton, and Irwin Rovner of the presence of terrace-like features throughout the Rio Bee region of the soutnern Yucatan Peninsula. Denevan maintained a long-term interest in pre-Hispanic agriculture and population in the New World. Our studies with the emerging Rio Bee research group at the University of Wisconsin led to the conclusion that the then dominant themes of Maya agriculture were in need of reevaluation and that a number of remains of intensive forms of agriculture were likely to be found in the Central Maya lowlands of Mexico, Peten (Guatemala), and Belize, particularly wetland or raised fields in addition to the reported terraces. Our interests were heightened at this time by notification from Alfred Siemens of the finds of wetland fields in the vicinity of the Rio Bee region in the Chetumal, Mexico-northern Belize area.
Table of Contents
List of Tables -- List of Figures -- Preface -- Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION -- The Study -- The Classic Maya and the Lowlands -- The Central Maya Lowlands -- Chapter 2 LOWLAND MAYA AGRICULTURE -- The Swidden Thesis and Its Hiatus -- Alternative Theses -- Direct Evidence -- Chapter 3 THE RIO BEC REGION -- Exploration and Research -- Cultural History -- Physical Setting -- Past Environs -- Environmental Keys to Slope Agriculture -- Chapter 4 RIO BEC TERRACES AND RELATED FEATURES -- Distribution and Prevalence -- Constructional Forms -- Environmental Relationships -- Associated Features -- Terrace Functions -- Other Stoneworks -- Dating -- Criticisms of the Data and Interpretations -- Chapter 5 RIO BEC SLOPE AND MAYA AGRICULTURE: -- INTERPRETATIONS AND PERSPECTIVES -- Frequency/Intensity of R!o Bee Terrace Agriculture -- Cropping Procedures and Cultivars -- Social Organization -- Origins of the Terraces -- Abandonment of Terraces -- Perspectives -- Appendixes -- I Data for Mapped Terraced Sites -- II Maps of Terraced Sites -- III Forest Transects to Identify Terraces -- IV Typological Identification and Phasing of Ceramics from Terraced Sites, by Joseph W. Ball -- Bibliography -- Index -- List of Dellplain Latin American Studies.
Dr. B. L. Turner II is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. His special interest is cultural ecology.