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"Promoting Humanist Values and Critical Thinking on the South Coast"

Citizen Scientists: Heros of the Maya Forest

Saturday, January 16, 2021 at 03:00 PM at 04:31 PM

Our Speaker: Dr. Anabel Ford is an archaeologist
and director of the BRASS - El Pilar Program at
UCSB’s Meso-American Research Center.
Her research focus is on understanding how the
Maya interacted with the rain forest, how climate
change and geography affected their settlement
patterns, and how population changes related to
their environment.
Dr. Ford has addressed these interrelated themes from detailed investigation from
architecture to artifacts. She has tracked the economic and spatial patterns of the
Maya of El Pilar, a major center she encountered and mapped in 1983, and which now
is a bi-national park in Belize and Guatemala. Dr. Ford’s work demonstrates that the
Maya were able to prosper over millennia with a distinctly local relationship to the
tropical environment she calls the Maya forest garden, showcased at El Pilar.
Program: Research at the major Maya center of El Pilar with citizen scientists
provides new insight into the development of the ancient Maya and how they lived
within their forest. Collaboration with contemporary Maya farmers, and governments
to conserve the culture and nature of El Pilar reveals a new integrative approach that
promotes forest gardening as a positive action for climate change in the 21st century
(reducing temperatures, maintaining biodiversity, conserving water, enhancing soil
fertility, and reducing erosion).
The agrarian Maya emerged in the southern Maya lowlands and thrived as a growing
civilization for some 2,000 years. By the Classic Period (250-900 CE), they were
recording important events in carved stone, on decorated pottery vessels, and inside
bark books. The Maya documented regal facets of life, -- challenges to power,
alliances, and visits, as well as celebrations-- recorded from the earliest times through
the Spanish conquest.

Location

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