The lowland Maya settlement landscape: Environmental LiDAR and ecology

Whittaker Schroder, Timothy Murtha, Charles Golden, Armando Anaya Hernández, Andrew Scherer, Shanti Morell-Hart, Angélica Almeyda Zambrano, Eben Broadbent, Madeline Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This paper presents the archaeological evaluation of 458 tiles of LiDAR collected by environmental scientists over southern Mexico using the G-LiHT system of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Specifically, this article describes the results of a full processing, inspection, and annotation of these data for the identification and baseline analysis of archaeological features. In this paper, we: 1) introduce the dataset and describe our efforts to systematically process and annotate archaeological features and 2) revisit the cultural and ecological context of the samples. The results presented here confirm some of the conclusions presented previously, including the benefit of mining large previously acquired digital data for archaeological information, the diversity of lowland settlement and features in between areas already well-documented, and the contribution to landscape archaeology of such transect samples when coupled to macro-environmental data sets. These data also fill in some details about the prehispanic Mesoamerican landscape, raising new questions about the relationship between past settlements and regional cultural, political, and ecological systems. Finally, these data offer important foundational inventories for discussing how to preserve and conserve archaeological resources across the lowlands, especially when these resources are not tied to monumental architecture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102543
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Oct 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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