Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationNorthwestern U.
Grant numberGr. 10083
Approve DateApril 8, 2021
Project TitleRobin, Cynthia (Northwestern U.) "Human-Environment Relationships and Urban Longevity at Aventura, Belize"
As over half of the world lives in cities today, there is perhaps no more pressing question than: how can humans create cities that are long-lived? This proposal outlines laboratory analyses of recently excavated materials from the archaeological site of Aventura, Belize that will investigate the human-environment relationships that enable a city to survive during a period of climatic and societal stress. Aventura is a PreColumbian Maya city with a history lasting over two millennia (600 BCE to 1500 CE). With its peak in the Terminal Classic period (post 750 to 1100 CE), Aventura thrived during a period of political and environmental turmoil in the Maya area. The proposed research will conduct paleoethnobotanical and zooarchaeological analyses alongside stable isotope studies of human and white tailed deer remains to answer two questions about the environmental basis of Aventura’s longevity. (1) What was the role of forest, habitat, and biodiversity at Aventura? (2) How did these environmental factors intersect with human diet and equities or inequalities in access to food? The proposed research has been specifically formulated to be undertaken concurrent with Covid-19 restrictions and does not include travel or face-to-face interaction.