Maya agriculture

Maya agriculture

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Maya agriculture, ancient and "wise" agriculture could be defined because of many methods and discoveries that have been precious in the history of human evolution. Let's find out what the Maya cultivated and what they ate and how they managed to use their territory to sustain themselves.

Maya agriculture: products

It is not so easy to understand what kind of products they had, from the fields, but from the study of pollen found in the sediment of lakes, it can be hypothesized that those most present in Mayan agriculture were corn, cassava, sunflower seeds, cotton, obviously not counting sweet potatoes, cocoa and beans.

This is what has been grown in Central America since at least 2500 BC, the Maya were however specialized in sweet potatoes, cocoa, beans and proceeded with sophisticated methods such as Shifting cultivation which made them a long-lived and healthy population, an example for many others.

In Mayan agriculture there were also areas where they were carried out permanent crops with terracing, forest crops alternating with fallow fields and spontaneous species.

Mayan agriculture and farming

They were not great breeders, the Maya, and they did not use much draft and pack animals in agriculture. Of course they had dogs by their side, and others few domestic animals, they raised pigeons, turkeys and muscovy ducks, pheasants, the Peruvian llama, the alpaca and the vicuna. However, the dogs were very present, they protected their homes but also accompanied them on the hunt. According to their beliefs the dog who was the guide to the underworld.

Other animals, not bred, came however venerated from this people, as was the case for the jaguar and for the eagle that represented the sun, and then there is the quetzal, the beautiful bird with green feathers, which represented heaven and life. The deer and the snake for the Maya represented the earth and the sky, the monkey instead protected the artists.

Maya agriculture and civilization

Many practices of Mayan agriculture that once made this people famous are still applied by contemporary Mayan populations who must adapt them to an environment and a climate that is no longer the same due to economic and climatic changes and to presence of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that change habits and performance of the fields. There are also cultural changes to deal with, which is not trivial.

If you look at the area where Maya agriculture once reigned, through aerial photographs, the presence of elevated fields and irrigation canals can be seen, with areas of rainforest that, once, were rich in plants with high economic value.

Mayan agriculture and calendar

The Maya had a great respect for nature and also in practicing Mayan agriculture they tried to know and respect it, without expecting miracles but making the most of what the climate and the territory offered them. Even the study of the calendar and the seasons shows how this people did not improvise his own civilization but had long dedicated himself to deepening nature, on earth and in the sky.

They were truly at the forefront in the study of the sky and all astronomical phenomena, so much so that they created a solar calendar much more precise than the European one consisting of 365.242 days, mistaking the true length of the Earth's rotation period by just 17 seconds. At the same time, they were also closely linked to the cult of divinities: religion accompanied the scientific method.

The Maya before any sowing or harvesting activity, they turned to Nature for permission to reap its fruits. They were also very careful not to take more from the Earth than necessary, so as not to waste.

Mayan horoscope

The Maya culture was marked by a very close relationship with nature and animals, so much so that even as regards superstitions they believed that every person, from birth, was protected by a Guide Animal. For more information, you can read this article dedicated toMayan horoscope with the profiles of the individual Guide Animals in relation to the date of birth.

You may also be interested in the article onIntensive agriculture

Video: Ixim: A Mayan story about corn (June 2022).


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