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Ancient Maya Settlement and the Alacranes Bajo

Landscape and Communities in the Three Rivers Region, Northwestern Belize

Gail A Hammond
Publication Year:
288 pages, Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. 46 tables, 340 figures. With additional material online (Appendix).
Sub-series name:
UCL Institute of Archaeology PhD Series, 2
BAR number:


This work represents the archaeological investigation of a distinctive zone of the Three Rivers Region (TRR) of far northwestern Belize. The zone is dominated by the Alacranes Bajo, a seasonally inundated karstic depression bordered by the settlements of Nojol Nah and Tulix Mul. Understanding the relationship of the settlements to the bajo and to the wider political landscape of the TRR contributes to the knowledge of land use by the ancient Maya. This book investigates whether the settlements on the eastern edge of the Alacranes Bajo could be described as bajo-centric. Were they specifically located with the purpose of utilising the bajo’s resources? Or, do the settlements fit a wider pattern characteristic of the TRR? To address these questions, excavations were undertaken of households, monumental structures, and landscape features associated with the sites in question. The results of the excavations are described and assessed within the local, regional and inter-regional context.

Gail A. Hammond worked for the Maya Research Program for six field seasons during which this research was carried out. She graduated from the Institute of Archaeology, UCL with a PhD in Maya Archaeology in 2016. Gail now works at The British Museum in the Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure.

‘Hammond’s research-through excavation, mapping, surface collection, soil sampling, and aerial reconnaissance-contributes new information and valuable insights into the nature and functioning of resource-specialised communities within the Three Rivers Region.’ Elizabeth Graham, Professor of Mesoamerican Archaeology, UCL Institute of Archaeology

‘The historical ecology of tropical wetlands has been inadequately studied. This book is a significant contribution advancing our understanding of the role that wetland ecosystem services played in the development of the complex cultural landscapes of the Maya Lowlands.’ Dr Christian Isendahl, University of Gothenburg

Table of Contents (S2956_9781407355986_ToC.pdf, 124 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (S2956_9781407355986_Introduction.pdf, 64 Kb) [Download]