Prehistoric Raised-Field Agriculture in the Maya Lowlands

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Science  24 Jul 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4506, pp. 399-405
DOI: 10.1126/science.213.4506.399


The ground pattems found in Pulitrouser Swamp, northern Belize, are vestiges of raised and channelized fields, types of wetland cultivation used by the ancient Maya. This form of hydraulic cultivation was apparently employed sometime between 200 B.C. and A.D. 850. The environment of the swamp, the fields and canals, and one nearby settlement, Kokeal, are described. The evidence indicates that the large number of well-defined ground patterns reported in other areas in the central Maya lowlands are probably vestiges of Maya wetland cultivation.

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