The Proyecto Costa Escondida: Historical ecology and the study of past coastal landscapes in the Maya area

Jeffrey B. Glover, Dominique Rissolo, Patricia A. Beddows, Roy Jaijel, Derek Smith, Beverly Goodman-Tchernov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although Maya scholars have referenced coastal settlements in the more general discourse on past landscapes, coastal landscapes have only rarely been the explicit focus of research programs. Coastal peoples, however, faced distinct challenges and opportunities not shared by their inland neighbors. These had material ramifications in terms of the specific decisions coastal inhabitants made over time while trying to take advantage of opportunities and manage risks. The north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is a complex physiographic mosaic that is categorically distinct from the inland expanses of the Maya lowlands. No doubt, the physically delimiting aspects of the north coast’s diverse environment played a major role in shaping more localized concepts of landscape. Here, we employ an historical ecology framework to integrate the interdisciplinary studies conducted by the Proyecto Costa Escondida along the Yucatan’s north coast. Specifically, we focus on the ancient Maya port site of Vista Alegre and what our research has revealed about the dynamic interplay of social and natural processes that shaped life at this ancient Maya port over the past three millennia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Island and Coastal Archaeology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Northern Maya lowlands
  • Yucatan Peninsula
  • economy and subsistence
  • paleoenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Archaeology
  • Ecology
  • History
  • Archaeology


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