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H 290 x W 205 mm

540 pages

21 folded pull-outs, illustrated throughout in colour and black & white (183 colour plates)

Published Sep 2018

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781784919290

Digital: 9781784919306

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Mexico; Mesoamerica; Maya; Mayan; Water management; Uxul; Hydrolic system; Classic Maya; Campeche

Archaeopress Pre-Columbian Archaeology 9

The Hydraulic System of Uxul

Origins, functions, and social setting

By Nicolaus Seefeld

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This research seeks to close an essential research gap – the understanding of the water management strategies of the Maya in pre-Hispanic times. It focuses on the archaeological investigation of the hydraulic system of Uxul, a medium-sized Maya centre in the south of the state of Campeche, Mexico.





1 Introduction

2 Geomorphology of the Maya Lowlands

3 History of research on the hydrology of the Maya Lowlands

4 Climate history and landscape history of the Maya Lowlands

5 Review of hydraulic features in the Maya Lowlands

6 Archaeological investigation of Uxul’s hydraulic system

7 Functional and spatial patterns of hydraulic features in the Maya Lowlands

8 Development and sociopolitical relevance of water management in Classic Maya society

9 Conclusions

10 Bibliography

About the Author

Nicolaus Seefeld is an archaeologist who specializes in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica with a focus on the ancient Maya. He has participated in archaeological investigations at several Maya sites in Mexico and Guatemala. Since 2008, his research has focused on the water management practices and the agricultural production of the Classic Maya. He holds an MA and a doctorate from the University of Bonn.


'This publication offers a fresh look at the study of water management among the pre-Hispanic Maya... and helps us to understand the underlying problems of the Yucatán Peninsula and how the pre-Hispanic population developed various strategies for the management of rainwater. The publication is commended both for its academic content and good images (more than 260, many of them in colour) as well as its printing quality. The volume contains an extensive discussion and summary of the history of research related to the management of water and land in pre-Hispanic times.' ⁠—Antonio Benavides Castillo, Estudios de Cultura Maya 54, August 2019
'In sum, this large volume of 517 pages provides a unique synthesis that many will find useful. Indeed, Seefeld’s book constitutes the best comprehensive study of ancient Maya water management available at this time, with no comparable work out there. The book is a very valuable addition to a Mayanist’s library because of everything it brings together on the topic of ancient Maya water management. Scholars working in water management in other regions of the world will also find a very good place to start here if they intend to look at the Maya case.' ⁠—Thomas Ruhl and Nicholas P. Dunning, Latin American Antiquity Vol. 30, No. 3, September 2019