Agricultural Land Use and Intensification

Vernon L. Scarborough

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Agricultural Land Use and Intensification

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Agricultural intensification is the process whereby land-use activity is heightened through an increase in production on a plot. Production can be stimulated by an increase in the amount or kind of labor invested, the incorporation of crops that yield more food or fiber, or the use of a novel technology. In Mesoamerica, few “technological breakthroughs” precipitated change, rather the developmental trajectory for intensification was based on labor allocation and slow advances in the amount of food potentially harvested by an evolving process of plant domestication—principally maize. This article discusses agricultural intensification in West Mexico, Central Highland Mexico, the Valley of Oaxaca, and the Maya lowlands.

Keywords: agricultural intensification; Mesoamerica; land use; production; West Mexico; Central Highland Mexico; Oaxaca Valley; Maya lowlands

Article.  4371 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; Landscape Archaeology

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