Maya and Ancestral Puebloans Providing Clues on World Water Crisis
Maya and Ancestral Puebloans Providing Clues on World Water Crisis.
Reservoirs and aquifers are drying up, a consequence of overuse, and climate change triggering periods of drought around the planet.
Using water the way we have in the past simply will not sustain humanity in future.” Researchers from University of Cincinnati’s anthropology, geography and geology departments have been exploring rainforests and deserts around the globe in an attempt to find out how ancient humans changed their environment to manage the water supply.
“We begin by asking, ‘What is water to humans, how do we engage with it and how does the environment engage us?” explained Vernon Scarborough, professor and department head in UC’s Department of Anthropology, in a press release.
Other tests provided insight into how the Puebloans supplied themselves with water.
“During the rainy season when floodwaters hit, the Puebloans would capture runoff water from small canyons known as the rincons and local periodic streams such as Chaco Wash and Escavada Wash.” Researchers in the UC team also explored the Guatemalan rainforests around Tikal, a Maya site that was inhabited around the same time as Chaco Canyon.
“Similar to Chaco Canyon, we found geochemical evidence for corn fields situated in specific environmental niches at Tikal”, said Nicholas Dunning, a UC professor of Geography.
“Essentially, they may have affected a change in their own climate”, said Scarborough.
However, their research also highlighted how the Puebloans and Maya affected their environment and landscape.
Such investments in building massive dam projects today is a costly expenditure of money and time that might well benefit from views of the past.