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Caracol, Belize: Evidence of Ancient Maya Agricultural Terraces

Paul F. Healy, John D. H. Lambert, J. T. Arnason and Richard J. Hebda
Journal of Field Archaeology
Vol. 10, No. 4 (Winter, 1983), pp. 397-410
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
DOI: 10.2307/529463
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/529463
Page Count: 14
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Caracol, Belize: Evidence of Ancient Maya Agricultural Terraces
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Abstract

Recent studies of ancient Maya settlement and demography indicate population densities exceeding those achievable using traditional swidden farming techniques, and suggest that more intensive farming methodologies such as terracing were employed. This paper describes recent archaeological investigations at the major Maya ceremonial center of Caracol, Cayo District, Belize, a poorly known region of the southern Maya lowlands. Research concentrated upon a six-hectare zone of terraced hillslope and included detailed mapping and excavations. An examination of the terraces and associated residential units is made, with discussion of the antiquity of these structures, their distribution, terrace size, form, and probable function. The first radiocarbon dates for Caracol, as well as data on terrace soils and pollen, are presented.

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