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FISH FROM AFAR: MARINE RESOURCE USE AT CARACOL, BELIZE

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Date Issued:
2011
Abstract/Description:
The ancient Maya had strong ties to the sea. The trade, transportation and use of marine resources were important not only to coastal Maya communities, but also to the heavily populated cities that lay many miles inland. A review of zooarchaeological evidence recovered from excavations at the inland site of Caracol, Belize suggests that the inhabitants imported marine fish for food, marine shell for working into trade items, and sharks teeth and stingray spines for ritual use. This thesis examines the manner in which fish and other marine resources were used, procured and transported from the coast to the site of Caracol. The possibility that certain marine fish might have been transported alive to the site is explored. An examination of present day fishing and animal husbandry practices suggests that many species could have survived an inland trip in ancient times if transported under conditions that allowed for water exchanges and minimized stress. Marine resources had important economic and ritual significance to the people of Caracol. Understanding the methods by which these valuable items were transported and traded ultimately facilitates a greater understanding of the economic and socio-political relationships among these ancient polities.
Title: FISH FROM AFAR: MARINE RESOURCE USE AT CARACOL, BELIZE.
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Name(s): Cunningham-Smith, Petra, Author
Chase, Arlen, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2011
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The ancient Maya had strong ties to the sea. The trade, transportation and use of marine resources were important not only to coastal Maya communities, but also to the heavily populated cities that lay many miles inland. A review of zooarchaeological evidence recovered from excavations at the inland site of Caracol, Belize suggests that the inhabitants imported marine fish for food, marine shell for working into trade items, and sharks teeth and stingray spines for ritual use. This thesis examines the manner in which fish and other marine resources were used, procured and transported from the coast to the site of Caracol. The possibility that certain marine fish might have been transported alive to the site is explored. An examination of present day fishing and animal husbandry practices suggests that many species could have survived an inland trip in ancient times if transported under conditions that allowed for water exchanges and minimized stress. Marine resources had important economic and ritual significance to the people of Caracol. Understanding the methods by which these valuable items were transported and traded ultimately facilitates a greater understanding of the economic and socio-political relationships among these ancient polities.
Identifier: CFE0004018 (IID), ucf:49162 (fedora)
Note(s): 2011-08-01
M.A.
Sciences, Department of Anthropology
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): Caracol
Maya Fishing Practices
Maya canoes
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0004018
Restrictions on Access: public
Host Institution: UCF

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