FAMINE FOODS and FOOD SECURITY in the NORTHERN MAYA LOWLANDS: MODERN LESSONS for ANCIENT RECONSTRUCTIONS

Harper Dine, Traci Ardren, Grace Bascopé, Celso Gutiérrez Báez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Inequality and changing responses to food scarcity may create a stigmatization complex around certain foods. Here, we conduct a literature search to develop a working definition of "famine foods" in the Maya lowlands, centering qualities such as hardiness, productivity, nutrition, preparation, and stigmatization complexes. An analysis of the nutritional characteristics that might make up such a food yields the idea that famine foods are likely members of a time- and place-specific arsenal of plant resources. We compare the results of the literature search to botanical data from a rejollada survey from Xuenkal and a solar (house garden) survey conducted in Yaxunah. Examining the data through the lens of a history of manipulation of food access, shifting relations of power, and modern responses to food insecurity illuminates cultural plasticity and resilience in diet and agricultural strategies in the Maya lowlands. We conceptualize solares and rejolladas as food-related resilience strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAncient Mesoamerica
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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