Common Knowledge : lowland Maya urban farming at Xuch
Abstract: During the second half of the first millennium AD, several large urban communities developed in the Puuc region of the northwest Yucatán Peninsula. Investigations of architecture and ceramics at Xuch provide a spatio-chronological framework demonstrating the rapid growth of an urban settlement culminating in the Terminal Classic, and its subsequent decline. Archaeological, ecological and geochemical data are used to document the development of the Xuch archaeological landscape. At the time of maximum population, urban community structure comprised complexes of monumental civic and ceremonial architecture, extensive areas of residential settlement and vacant urban spaces. Surface and sub-surface data are used to interpret the long-term dynamic relationships between population density, land use patterns and ecology. The results demonstrate that vacant urban spaces formed part of a subsistence strategy emphasizing settlement agriculture. Cost effective methods of data recovery and analysis developed here can be applied elsewhere to obtain spatio-temporal frameworks of archaeological landscapes and rapid appraisals of socio-environmental interactions.
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