Morse, Mckenzie (2009-08). Pollen from Laguna Verde, Blue Creek, Belize: Implications for Paleoecology, Paleoethnobotany, Agriculture, and Human Settlement. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • This dissertation is a palynological examination of the Mayan archaeological site at Blue Creek, northwestern Belize. This study uncovers more than 4,500 years of environmental and agricultural history of the region, which can be related to human incursion, habitation and plant use, abandonment, and reoccupation of the region. After an historical and ecological overview of the study site, there follows an explanation of procedures for collecting, sampling, processing, identifying, and counting the fossil pollen from the area. Evidence from archaeology, paleoecology, and physical anthropology is used to construct a model for the first entry of humans into the Maya area. Examinations are made of Archaic Period paleoecology and the cultural developments that set the stage for the advancement of Maya culture. Next, the physical environment of Blue Creek is explored, and its stability is assessed. This information leads to an assessment of the possibility of drought or soil degradation during the height of Mayan civilization, and contributes to the current understanding of the Maya Collapse at Blue Creek. Mayan agricultural methodologies are explained, and the changes to traditional production systems that resulted from European colonization are described. A model of agricultural development is proposed. The plant taxa identified in the Laguna Verde pollen core are listed and described. Finally, the Laguna Verde pollen core is interpreted in terms of the vegetation associations and environmental conditions represented by each stratum. This dissertation is a palynological examination of the Mayan archaeological site at Blue Creek, northwestern Belize. This study uncovers more than 4,500 years of environmental and agricultural history of the region, which can be related to human incursion, habitation and plant use, abandonment, and reoccupation of the region. After an historical and ecological overview of the study site, there follows an explanation of procedures for collecting, sampling, processing, identifying, and counting the fossil pollen from the area. Evidence from archaeology, paleoecology, and physical anthropology is used to construct a model for the first entry of humans into the Maya area. Examinations are made of Archaic Period paleoecology and the cultural developments that set the stage for the advancement of Maya culture. Next, the physical environment of Blue Creek is explored, and its stability is assessed. This information leads to an assessment of the possibility of drought or soil degradation during the height of Mayan civilization, and contributes to the current understanding of the Maya Collapse at Blue Creek. Mayan agricultural methodologies are explained, and the changes to traditional production systems that resulted from European colonization are described. A model of agricultural development is proposed. The plant taxa identified in the Laguna Verde pollen core are listed and described. Finally, the Laguna Verde pollen core is interpreted in terms of the vegetation associations and environmental conditions represented by each stratum.
  • This dissertation is a palynological examination of the Mayan archaeological site at Blue Creek, northwestern Belize. This study uncovers more than 4,500 years of environmental and agricultural history of the region, which can be related to human incursion, habitation and plant use, abandonment, and reoccupation of the region.
    After an historical and ecological overview of the study site, there follows an explanation of procedures for collecting, sampling, processing, identifying, and counting the fossil pollen from the area. Evidence from archaeology, paleoecology, and physical anthropology is used to construct a model for the first entry of humans into the Maya area. Examinations are made of Archaic Period paleoecology and the cultural developments that set the stage for the advancement of Maya culture.
    Next, the physical environment of Blue Creek is explored, and its stability is assessed. This information leads to an assessment of the possibility of drought or soil degradation during the height of Mayan civilization, and contributes to the current understanding of the Maya Collapse at Blue Creek.
    Mayan agricultural methodologies are explained, and the changes to traditional production systems that resulted from European colonization are described. A model of agricultural development is proposed.
    The plant taxa identified in the Laguna Verde pollen core are listed and described. Finally, the Laguna Verde pollen core is interpreted in terms of the vegetation associations and environmental conditions represented by each stratum. This dissertation is a palynological examination of the Mayan archaeological site at Blue Creek, northwestern Belize. This study uncovers more than 4,500 years of environmental and agricultural history of the region, which can be related to human incursion, habitation and plant use, abandonment, and reoccupation of the region.
    After an historical and ecological overview of the study site, there follows an explanation of procedures for collecting, sampling, processing, identifying, and counting the fossil pollen from the area. Evidence from archaeology, paleoecology, and physical anthropology is used to construct a model for the first entry of humans into the Maya area. Examinations are made of Archaic Period paleoecology and the cultural developments that set the stage for the advancement of Maya culture.
    Next, the physical environment of Blue Creek is explored, and its stability is assessed. This information leads to an assessment of the possibility of drought or soil degradation during the height of Mayan civilization, and contributes to the current understanding of the Maya Collapse at Blue Creek.
    Mayan agricultural methodologies are explained, and the changes to traditional production systems that resulted from European colonization are described. A model of agricultural development is proposed.
    The plant taxa identified in the Laguna Verde pollen core are listed and described. Finally, the Laguna Verde pollen core is interpreted in terms of the vegetation associations and environmental conditions represented by each stratum.

publication date

  • August 2009