The objective of this study was to use soil chemical properties, particularly carbon isotopes to describe the agricultural landscape in the Blue Creek region on the Rio Bravo Escarpment in northwestern Belize. The primary question associated with this study focused on the comparative agricultural potential of the soils between the upland karst environment and the lowland coastal plains using the distribution and frequency of ancient Maya maize production. Soil physical features, such as clay concentrations throughout profiles in conjunction with soil chemical properties were used to aid in determining the level of ancient maize production. Isotopic evidence suggests that anciently, lowland soils were used for maize production more so than upland soils. In addition, profiles at Crocodile Lake indicate the potential for transport of soil δ13C signatures as a result of mass movement events.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Ulmer, Austin Michael, "Indications of Ancient Maya Soil Resource Management in Northern Belize" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 5603.
stable carbon isotopes, ancient agriculture, Maya agriculture, soil analysis, geochemistry