Fruit, Fiber, Bark, and Resin: Social Organization of a Maya Urban Center

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Science  18 May 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4394, pp. 697-701
DOI: 10.1126/science.204.4394.697


Quantitative analysis of 3579 trees recorded in the Classic Maya city of Cobá, Quintana Roo, Mexico, indicates a strong relation between the location and quantity of certain trees producing fruit, fiber, bark, and resin, high-status vaulted architecture, and their distance from the center of the site out toward the fringes. The relationships suggest agreement between the residence pattern of Cobá and Diego de Landa's 16th-century class-oriented description of Maya towns during preconquest times.