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Ancient Maya Tree Cropping: A viable subsistence adaptation for the island Maya

  • Heather McKillop (a1)
Abstract

The predominance of tree crops among abundant, well-preserved plant food remains from coastal sites in southern Belize suggests that these island Maya had a specialized subsistence focus. Limited arable land on offshore islands, together with a maritime economy, may have been important factors in the use of tree crops. The Wild Cane Cay Maya utilized a variety of native palm fruits – Orbignya cohune, Acrocomia mexicana, and Bactris major, as well as other wild tree fruits, in addition to corn. These coastal data support the view that specialized adaptation to diverse environments was a feature of ancient Maya subsistence.

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