Lecture at the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut

Dr. Anabel Ford gives a lecture at the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut

Mysteries of the Maya Explored 



From the deep forests of tropical Mesoamerica, Dr. Anabel Ford brings to life the ancient Maya and their landscape. The Maya civilization has conjured many myths beginning with the stubborn temples that rise above the forest canopy. From northern Yucatan of Mexico to the Petén of Guatemala, The Maya emerged in the tropics, established major cities, built major temples in one of the most biodiverse places in the world.  Yet their accomplishments—mathematical use of zero, hieroglyphic writing, and civilizing the tropics—stand out as part of their mystery.

Who are the Maya? What are their origins? How did they domesticate the forest? Where are they today? Clues are found in their tropical setting, their ancient landscape patterns, and in their resilient traditional agricultural skills. Research on ancient Maya land settlements reveal that the well-drained uplands, with their fertile yet thin soil, are preferred areas for farming settlements of this Stone Age society. Today, these uplands are dominated by useful plants the same that are found in the traditional Maya forest gardens. The Maya civilization grew over 2000 years, expanding and intensifying their use of the uplands where investments of labor and skill were the means of improving yields.  Exploring the history and prehistory of the Maya is a basis discovering the Maya world; how we are honoring the past and what we can learn for the future.