Skip to comments.Mayans used reservoir, sand-filtered water to support urban population at Tikal
Posted on 07/16/2012 5:47:59 PM PDT by rjbemsha
Around 700 AD, Tikal had the largest dam built by the ancient Maya of Central America, used sand filtration to cleanse water entering reservoirs, a "switching station" that accommodated seasonal filling and release of water, and the deepest, rock-cut canal segment in the Maya lowlands. All this to support a population at Tikal of perhaps 60,000 to 80,000 inhabitants and an estimated population of five million in the overall Maya lowlands.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
In part because so many of the current population are here and not there.
Hell, I always thought the Mayans drank human blood after allthe head womping....
Visiting Tikal is actually pretty easy. From the US via Mexico City to Guatemala City, then a jet hop to an airfield near Tikal. They have good minivans and expert guides to show you around.
Now to flesh this out.
To start with, Guatemala City looks pretty cruddy from the air, but it has some really classy, grand 1940s-style architecture hotels. The Guatemalans are good cooks, and each meal will traditionally have a small pile of guacamole and a small pile of refried black beans, each with a dot of sour cream and a corn chip, on the side of the plate. A charming touch, even with bacon and eggs and hash browns.
But if you want to stay more than a week, you need to go a short distance away to the heavenly place known as Antigua Guatemala.
400 year old Spanish architecture, cobblestone streets, surrounded by three jungle volcanoes, and the weather is always perfect. It is also the weaving center of the region, where they make the brightly colored, elaborate and stylized garments they wear.
The main industry in town is teaching Spanish to US couples. Importantly, the place is very couple-oriented, and a single person is rather unusual. It also boasts a five-star Holiday Inn, but few stay there, as staying in town is so much more elegant.
They also have a nice little park given by the California Avocado Growers Assn., out of gratitude for the Guatemalans teaching them how to grow avocados.
In any event, then you go back to GC to take the flight to Tikal.
Tikal is a big place with lots of buildings and other ancient engineering, and a full walking tour can run 4.5 steamy hours. They have spent the better part of a century restoring the place. It is in the midst of a giant forest preserve, with a very high jungle canopy, with spider and howler monkeys frolicking among the tree limbs.
There are also many parrots and Toucans, with plant and animal life so alien that I was thrilled to see something I recognized. A duck. Very dense jungle.
The biggest downside to Guatemala are the [expletive deleted] buses. Going anywhere by overcrowded bus makes you want to strangle that guy standing in the doorway, waving in ever more people. Fortunately they do have modern taxis and vans, for a not unreasonable price.
If you travel there, be sure to bring the maximum allowed limit of garments, carved artifacts, and other stuff.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Maximum use of limited technology, interesting how sophisticated they were but seemed to constantly miss obvious technological advances. I have read some rather lengthy explanations for this, lack of domestic animals and motivation but all such explanations seem incomplete.
Thanks for the travel tips. They flesh out my mental picture of Tikal. But I live in Tokyo; don’t expect to get to Central America for a while.
Yes, it seems utterly inconsistent to miss the obvious while exploiting the sophisticated. Liberals come to mind.
A very quick check of round trip airfare from Tokyo to Mexico City bottoms out at about $1500.
I have been to Tikal. My wife is from Guatemala so one of her relatives took me there. One of the most spectacular man-made things I ever seen in my life. You do see the water channels the Mayans built and the remnants of the reservoirs they chiseled out of the limestone. The Mayans sealed the reservoirs with some type of lime based sealant.
I just want to add the main town to stay in if you visit Tikal is Flores. It sits on island, connected by a short causeway to the mainland, in a lake. Flores is a very pretty Spanish colonial style town with cobblestone streets.