UT Tyler Office of Marketing and Communications

UT Tyler Professor Publishes Article on Ancient Maya Agriculture

October 25, 2019

Media Contact: Beverley Golden
Senior Director of Media Relations
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler

The University of Texas at Tyler has announced that an article co-authored by Dr. Thomas Guderjan, social sciences chair and professor of anthropology, was published by the National Academy of Sciences.

The article, "The Early Anthropocene in tropical forests: Ancient Maya wetland fields revealed from laser scanning and multiproxy evidence,'' is featured this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

The article discusses the use of LiDAR remote sensing in Northwestern Belize by Guderjan and other researchers to detect ancient Maya agricultural systems in wetland environments. The remote sensing data has been combined with three years of field research.

"The big issue raised by this research is that we now know ancient Maya farmers created vast agricultural production systems and the products were shipped hundreds of miles to end users,'' Guderjan said. "This view sees the ancient Maya economics as being more similar to our own than we once thought.''

Guderjan's archaeological research themes include the agricultural production, trade and urban organization of the ancient Maya. Since 1990, he has focused on archaeology in Northwestern Belize, where his team operates a permanent research station.

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered to nearly 10,000 students. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News and World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.