Chapter 5 develops the background information and history of the Chan community, a farming community located in a provincial part of the Maya world that was occupied for 2000 years between 800 B.C. and A.D. 1200. It also provides a background for the history of the Chan project itself and the methods used in the research. The Maya farming community of Chan is located in the upper Belize Valley region of west-central Belize. Its ancient inhabitants constructed a productive landscape of agricultural terraces and homes across its rolling hills surrounding a small community center. Its 2000-year occupation spans the major periods of political-economic change in Maya society (the Preclassic, Classic, and Postclassic periods), making it an ideal place to explore how everyday life intersects with broader transformations in society. During this time, the great lowland Maya cities of Tikal, Copan, Calakmul, Palenque, and many others, rose, flourished, and fell, while in Europe the Roman Empire rose and fell and prehistory gave way to the Middle Ages. Unremarkable in terms of community size or architecture, the farming community of Chan nonetheless flourished for 2000 years while the fortunes of nearby major Maya civic centers waxed and waned.
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