What type of agriculture was practiced by the maya


Mayan Agriculture

  • Growing Maize. Maize was the staple diet of the Mayan society. …
  • Mayan Field Rotation Method. Mayan lands were not known for their fertile soil. …
  • Slash and Burn Method. …
  • Cutting down Vegetation. …
  • The Cultivation Season. …
  • Mayan Water Reservoirs. …
  • Other Water Sources. …
  • Foods grown by Mayans. …
  • Mayan Agriculture Summary. …

The Maya created arable land by using a “slash-and-burn” technique to clear the forests. They planted maize and secondary crops such as beans, squash, and tobacco. In the highlands to the west, they terraced the slopes on mountainsides; in the lowlands, they cleared the jungle for planting.


What are Mayan farming techniques?

may have been:

  • the escalation of hostilities later in the Classic period;
  • the high price of increased warfare;
  • the expense of maintaining kings and nobles, and of building higher and more elaborate temples;
  • and the practice of taking commoners for human sacrifice (in the Early Classic period, only kings and captured nobles were used as human sacrifices).

What are facts about the Mayan civilization?

Mayan Facts. The Mayans were one of the most remarkable Mesoamerican civilisations which existed for more than a thousand years. The Earliest Mayan settlements and major cities began to come into being during the 1st millennium B.C. and Mayan cities in the Yucatan Peninsula still existed when Spanish conquistadors came to Mesoamerica in the 16th century.

What was the Mayan agriculture?

The Maya had developed an agriculture based on the cultivation of corn (maize), beans, and squash by about 1500 BCE; by 600 CE cassava (sweet manioc) was also grown. They practiced mainly slash-and-burn agriculture, but they used advanced techniques of irrigation and terracing. Were the Maya polytheistic or monotheistic?

What did Mayan farmers grow?

Mayans relied on rain water for their farming needs and constructed stone reservoirs to store rainwater in order to use it in times of droughts. Maize was the primary crop grown by Mayan farmers while they also grew many kinds of vegetables, fruits and exotic products such as cocoa.


What did the Mayans do for agriculture?

Mayan Agriculture Summary. Mayans were an agrarian society who relied on agriculture for their food needs. They lived in a region where rainfall was not very abundant, so Mayans came up with a number of innovative methods of growing crops. The soil in Mayan regions was also not very fertile, yet Mayans grew a large variety of grains, …

How did the Mayans get their crops?

Mayans came up with a solution for this by cultivating crops using field rotation. They would choose a cultivable land and then grow crops on it for two successive years. After two years, the soil of the land would be exhausted and they would abandon it, moving on to some other field. The soil of the first field would rejuvenate and become fertile again in five years. That’s when the Mayan farmers would return and again grow their crops on it for two more years.

What were the Mayan reservoirs?

Mayan Water Reservoirs. Although Mayans depended on rainfall for growing their crops, rains were not a very dependable source. Some years would bring a lot of rain and yet the next year would be arid and dry, making crop cultivation unpredictable. Some Mayan cities resolved this problem by building stone reservoirs.

What did the Mayans make from corn?

They then made flat tortillas from it, in some cases filling these tortillas with meats and vegetables. Commoners also made and consumed a drink made from maize as part of their daily breakfast. Mayans were an agrarian society who relied on agriculture for their food needs. Mayan Field Rotation Method.

What were the Mayans’ natural sources of water?

Apart from direct rainfall and man-made artificial reservoirs, Mayans also had access to different cenotes as an effective source of water. Cenotes were huge natural wells which existed throughout the Mayan lands. During rains, the water would flow through underground rivers and gather up in these cenotes. The Mayans then drew water from these cenotes for agriculture and crop cultivation. The significance of the cenotes was so much that several Mayan cities were founded right next to such cenotes so that they could be a ready source of water for growing crops.

What was the diet of the Mayans?

Maize was the staple diet of the Mayan society. So Mayans not only developed huge quantities of maize, they also innovated its production and cultivated several different types of it. Maize was a fulsome source of nutrients, so it was extensively used as a daily food. Mayans typically ground maize into flour and mixed lime into it. They then made flat tortillas from it, in some cases filling these tortillas with meats and vegetables. Commoners also made and consumed a drink made from maize as part of their daily breakfast.

What did the Mayans do after abandoning the land?

When the Mayans typically returned to a field after having abandoned it for five years, it was grown with natural vegetation such as bushes and weeds. Since the Mayans needed the soil to be rich in nutrients, they slashed all the vegetation overgrowth on the land and burned it. The nutrients and minerals from the burned vegetation returned back to the soil, making it fertile and once again usable for crop cultivation. This is how Mayans refreshed the field for re-cultivation after a period of abandonment.

What did the Mayans eat?

The ancient Maya grew pumpkins, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, chili peppers, tomatoes, chote, avocados, breadfruit, papaya, cotton, tobacco, vanilla, cacao, and a wide variety of wild fruit. Ancient Mayans domesticated turkeys, bees, ducks, and dogs. A small hairless mute dog was most prized for eating. However, as soon as cattle, pigs, and sheep were introduced by the Spaniards the Maya stopped consuming dog.

How long did the Mayan farmers use the field?

Instead, it can be attributed to the Mayan farmers’ method of field rotation. Native farmers used a field for two years (until depleted) and then they abandon it and plant another field. Then after five years passed, they returned to the abandon field and prepared it for use.

What did the Mayans build to collect rainwater?

Where the Mayans couldn’t rely on cenotes they built cisterns to collect rainwater. The ancient Mayans called these cisterns “chultunes.”. Most of the Yucatan Peninsula appears to be only scrub vegetation, however this is not a natural phenomenon.

How much rain does the Yucatan receive?

In the Yucatan the ground is very rocky, however vegetation thrives. It thrives because this area receives about 36 inches of rain per year. Water is also found in the Yucatan in natural wells called cenotes. These cenotes are fed by underground rivers.


Much of the soil in ancient Mayan was extremely rocky. Although this occurred, vegetation thrived because they received about 36 inches of rain per year. They also received water in their natural wells called cenotes (“Maya Agriculture”). This supplied them with water from the underground rivers when they could not rely on their cenotes.

Farmers Food

They ancient mayans grew pumpkins, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, chili peppers, tomatoes, chote, avocados, breadfruit, papaya, cotton, tobacco, sweet potatoes, vanilla, cacao, and a wide variety of wild fruit (“Maya Agriculture”).


As farmers adjusted their methods and techniques to the weather and climate habits, they developed a method of field rotation. This allowed them to abandon a field, start a new one and come back to their abandoned field. Basic concepts were not as commonly practiced. They would use stone tools and flint axes to clear vines and underbrush.

What was the Mayan agriculture?

Ancient Mayan Agriculture: Feeding the Masses Through Innovation. The ancient Mayan culture rested soundly at the pinnacle of South American cultural significance in many renowned disciplines, such as engineering, art, and mathematics. There is, however, one area that the Mayan culture mastered that is often overlooked or completely misunderstood;

What caused the decline of the Mayan civilization?

There is still much debate over what caused the decline of the great and revered Mayan culture, with some pointing to a significant loss of available food as the culprit. We know that, for an extended period of history, these forward-thinking and adaptive progenitors of agriculture were able to provide for the masses that inhabited their cities, villages and cultural outreaches.

What crops were planted in the same field plot?

This often led to the multiple crop planting practice of growing maize, beans, and squash (known as “the three sisters”) together in the same field plots. The squash would cover the ground, and beans could use the corn stalks to grow up for support and the maize would be the central crop for mass production.

What was the most versatile food?

Other notable staples included beans, squash, and chile peppers, but maize was the most versatile and could be implemented in a variety of ways. Among its methods of preparation, maize could be boiled and mixed with lime and peppers, creating a dish with a consistency similar to oatmeal that became a dependable staple food.

What was the most important crop for the Mayan culture?

Maize : The most important crop for The Mayan Culture.

How did the Mayans burn trees?

They dug canals throughout the fields to irrigate the crops. The Mayans cut down trees and plants and burned them . The ashes from the burning made the soil better for planting crops.

What caused the Maya to collapse?

Theories about what caused the Classic Maya collapse have ranged from overpopulation to ongoing military conflict between competing city – states to some catastrophic environmental event , such as an intense drought —or some combination of all of those factors.


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