April 7: Lecture by Kenneth Seligson

Burning Rings of Fire: Ancient Maya Resource Conservation Strategies

The Ancient Maya used burnt lime for everything. From the mortar that held their elaborate temple pyramids together to the processing of corn into a nutritious staple food, burnt lime was literally the glue that held the Maya world together. Yet until recently, archaeologists did not know how the Prehispanic Maya made their burnt lime. The amount of wood used in traditional aboveground kilns during the Colonial Period and more recently raised the possibility that burnt lime production may have led to rampant deforestation during the Classic Period. In this lecture, I discuss the many archaeological methods that I used to identify a fuel-efficient Prehispanic pit-kiln technology in the Northern Lowlands—a finding that questions the idea that Classic Maya civilization “collapsed.”

(AIA National Brush Lecture)

April 7 at 6:00 pm
✎ (webinar link forthcoming)

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