Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: Power Relations in the Context of Agricultural Production

Project: Research project

Project Details


The proposed research will investigate the political ecology of the ancient Maya city of Aventura, Belize. Aventura’s heyday was during the Terminal Classic to Early Postclassic (ca. 750-1100 CE), a time of documented regional sociopolitical and ecological turmoil in the Maya Lowlands. I have identified three pocket bajos, enclosed non-draining depressions in the land that were likely used for water management and/or agriculture in the past, in a 0.5 km2 survey area around the city-center of Aventura. I posit that the ways people were engaging with pocket bajo microenvironments contributed to the city’s Terminal Classic success. Using archaeological and paleoethnobotanical methods, I will examine how people were interacting with microenvironments both within and beyond the city-center. I will utilize survey and spatial analysis of elite and non-elite settlements to investigate the extent of pocket bajos at Aventura and who had the potential to access them. Phytolith analysis of sediment from the pocket bajos will reconstruct the paleoenvironment of the pocket bajos to determine the resources provided by these microenvironments. Excavation of structures adjacent to pocket bajos will identify their potential domestic, utilitarian, and ritual functions and associations with pocket bajos. From these multiple lines of evidence, I will determine what resources were available in the pocket bajos, who managed them, and how they were managed.
Effective start/end date9/1/184/30/21


  • National Science Foundation (BCS-1818785)


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.