Hydraulic Society and Water Management in the Ancient Maya Lowlands of Mesoamerica


Sheryl Beach 雪莉·比奇
University of Texas at Austin 美国德克萨斯大学奥斯汀分校


Ancient Maya Civilization is well-known for social, architectural and artistic accomplishments. The Maya also had complex mathematics, a deep time concept and calendar, and written language. Thriving in the tropics is still no small feat, and this complex ancient society, spanning in time for several millennia, had a sophisticated understanding and practice of land and water use. This presentation will focus on Ancient Maya water management strategies, to understand the scope and scale of environmental manipulation and change, and of cycles of decline, sustainability and resilience. Our aim is to also to understand solutions to these environmental and population challenges that are relevant to developing tropical regions today.


Biographical Sketch

Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach (Ph.D. Geography, University of Minnesota) is Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin. She also is a Fellow of the CB Smith, Sr. Centennial Chair in US-Mexico Relations, and a Faculty Associate of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at UT Austin. Dr. Luzzadder-Beach is currently the Vice-President of the American Association of Geographers, serves on the American Association for the Advancement of Science’ Science and Human Rights Coalition Council, and on the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. Dr. Luzzadder-Beach was awarded the G.K. Gilbert Award for Excellence in Geomorphological Research in 2010. She was awarded the 2013 George Mason University College of Science Publication Award, where she was a Geography Professor from 1993-2014 and served as GMU’s Associate Provost for General Education from 2000-2003. Her research is in hydrology, geoarchaeology of the Ancient Maya World and of Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations, geomorphology, spatial statistics, and gender, science and human rights in study regions ranging from Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala, to California, Turkey, and Iceland. Her work has been generously supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and NASA, among other sources.