GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 224-2
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


DALE, Jedidiah, Department of Geography and the Environment, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, BEACH, Timothy P., Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Texas at Austin, CLA Bldg. Rm. 3.306, A3100, 305 E. 23rd Street, Austin, TX 78712, HUTSON, Scott, Anthropology, University of Kentucky, 211 Lafferty Hall, Lexington, KY 40506, KRAUSE, Samantha M., Department of Geography, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, ESHLEMAN, Sara, Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712 and BOZARTH, Steven R., Dept. of Geography, University of Kansas, 1475 Jayhawk Blvd, Rm. 213, Lawrence, KS 66045

Aguadas, or ancient Maya reservoirs, represent a significant feature of Maya water management and landscape adaption. Through Aguada construction Maya settlements were able to increase their access to fresh water. There is significant variability in the form and function of aguadas throughout the Maya Lowlands. Some exploited and modified natural depressions and sink holes produced by the region’s karst topography, while others were the result of quarrying and other directed humans action. As a result, the interpretation of the natural and human history of a given aguada requires a multi-proxy approach. This must necessarily begin with consideration of the geologic context within which an aguada is found. In addition to their importance for better understanding ancient Maya water management, aguadas can provide an important record of paleoenvironmental change in close proximity to Maya site. Here we present multi-proxy geoarchaeological data of an Aguada from the Late Preclassic and Early Classic (2500 to 1500 BP) occupation site of Santa Rosa, located northeast of the town of Buctzotz in the northern Yucatan. We chose this site for two main reasons: (1) it was a created reservoir next to a water temple with conspicuous stone walls surrounding it, and (2) within the Zone of Cenotes, and there is plenty of water but with very high dissolved loads from the Yucatan Aquifer. We retrieved a 255cm long sediment core form the aguada. We were unable to identify pollen in the sample, so we focused on opal phytoliths and charcoal quantification to interpret vegetation history to infer biogenic depositional environment. Elemental and mineralogical information, obtained through XRD/XRF and magnetic susceptibility provide additional proxies for the study of changes in sedimentation and geochemistry of the system. This multi-proxy approach allows for a fuller evaluation of the environmental and human history of this important class of Maya landscape modification and water management feature.