Journal of Undergraduate Research


ancient Maize, agriculture, Mesoamerica, Mexico, Guatemala, corn


Life Sciences


Plant and Wildlife Sciences


For the past two years, Richard Terry, his graduate students, Zachary Larsen and Jacob Horlacher have mentored twenty two undergraduate majors in Environmental Science in the collecting, preparation, and analysis of soil samples from the rural surroundings of ancient Maya cities in Guatemala and Mexico. Corn (called maize in Mesoamerica) has been very important to both the ancient and contemporary Maya. The Maya creation story as recorded in the Popol Vuh tells of the creation of man from the ground maize. Many of the Maya view themselves as “people of the maize”. The actions of planting the seeds, harvesting, preparation and even consumption of the maize are considered sacred rites.