In Search of Markets and Fields: Soil Chemical Investigations at Motul de San José

Daniel A. Bair and Richard E. Terry

in Motul de San José

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780813041902
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043425 | DOI:
In Search of Markets and Fields: Soil Chemical Investigations at Motul de San José

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New methods in geochemical soil analyses have been applied to archaeology and have successfully been used to provide evidence on activity areas and agricultural use of the land. This chapter by Daniel A. Bair and Richard E. Terry presents the heavy metal and organic residue analyses that were carried out on household stucco floors at Motul de San José. Phosphate testing was also undertaken at several public plazas at Motul de San José, La Trinidad de Nosotros, and Akte, with the goal of pursuing suggestions that these spaces may have functioned as markets. The results from the phosphate tests in the central Plaza II of Group C at Motul are reviewed as they support the hypothesis that this public space functioned as a market. Additional stable carbon isotope analysis of three soil test pits at an additional minor center, Chächäklu'um, 5 km east of Motul, are reviewed to reconstruct the practice of maize agriculture through time at this location in the savannah ecological zone that has been suggested to sustain poor soils for agriculture.

Keywords: Classic Maya; Soil studies; Stable isotope analysis; Agricultural systems; Activity area analysis; Market economy

Chapter.  8704 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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