Ancient Maya regional settlement and inter-site analysis: The 2013 West-central Belize LiDAR survey

Arlen F. Chase, Diane Z. Chase, Jaime J. Awe, John F. Weishampel, Gyles Iannone, Holley Moyes, Jason Yaeger, Kathryn Brown, Ramesh L. Shrestha, William E. Carter, Juan Fernandez Diaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


During April and May 2013, a total of 1057 km2 of LiDAR was flown by NCALM for a consortium of archaeologists working in West-central Belize, making this the largest surveyed area within the Mayan lowlands. Encompassing the Belize Valley and the Vaca Plateau, West-central Belize is one of the most actively researched parts of the Maya lowlands; however, until this effort, no comprehensive survey connecting all settlement had been conducted. Archaeological projects have investigated at least 18 different sites within this region. Thus, a large body of archaeological research provides both the temporal and spatial parameters for the varied ancient Maya centers that once occupied this area; importantly, these data can be used to help interpret the collected LiDAR data. The goal of the 2013 LiDAR campaign was to gain information on the distribution of ancient Maya settlement and sites on the landscape and, particularly, to determine how the landscape was used between known centers. The data that were acquired through the 2013 LiDAR campaign have significance for interpreting both the composition and limits of ancient Maya political units. This paper presents the initial results of these new data and suggests a developmental model for ancient Maya polities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8671-8695
Number of pages25
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2014


  • Landscape archaeology
  • LiDAR
  • Maya archaeology
  • Settlement patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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