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Book: Pedological Perspectives in Archaeological Research
Published by: Soil Science Society of America



  1.  p. 51-80
    SSSA Special Publication 44.
    Pedological Perspectives in Archaeological Research

    Mary E. Collins, Brian J. Carter, Bruce G. Gladfelter and Randal J. Southard (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-939-8


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Archaeological Pedology in the Maya Lowlands

  1. John S. Jacob
  1. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas


Soil studies in archaeological contexts in Mesoamerica have focussed on land use and paleoenvironmental reconstruction. I examine the role of pedology in archaeology in general, and then examine three case studies from the Maya lowlands, all associated with wetlands. Two sites, Cobweb Swamp and Pulltrouser Swamp, are located in perennial wetlands, while the third site, Nakbe, is located in an area of seasonal wetlands. The pedostratigraphic record was severely confounded by geochemical, anthrogenic, and shrink-swell phenomena. Pedological inference was used in an effort to reconstruct the evolution of the wetlands and the impact of the Maya on them. Initial investigations reveal marked changes in the hydrology and chemistry of these wetlands through time, due at least in part to changes induced by the Maya, but natural effects also are seen as important.

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