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The Real Business of Ancient Maya EconomiesFrom Farmers' Fields to Rulers' Realms$
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Marilyn A. Masson, David A. Freidel, and Arthur A. Demarest

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066295

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066295.001.0001

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Maya Cornucopia

Maya Cornucopia

Indigenous Food Plants of the Maya Lowlands

Chapter:
(p.224) 13 Maya Cornucopia
Source:
The Real Business of Ancient Maya Economies
Author(s):

Scott L. Fedick

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813066295.003.0013

Under an agricultural economy, the ancient Maya depended on plants for food. While most discussions of Maya subsistence focus on maize production, this study has undertaken an extensive review of the ethnographic and botanical literature and found nearly 500 Indigenous food plants, domesticated, cultivated, and wild, reported as used by the Maya. The implications of this edible cornucopia of plants is discussed in terms of historic and current models of ancient Maya subsistence, implications for sustainability under environmental and demographic pressures, the range of plants likely to have been incorporated into marketing or exchange systems, and implications for identification of these plants in the archaeological record.

Keywords:   Ancient Maya, Agricultural economy, Maize production, Subsistence

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