The Ancient Maya Cosmology of Conservation

In Their Worldview, Humans Were Not Superior to Nature. They Were But One Element Needed to Maintain Universal Balance.

In the middle of the jungle in central Belize excavating an ancient Maya water temple, I’m at the edge of a sacred pool, praying to Chahk, the Maya rain god, for it not to rain. At least not until my team of archaeologists finishes excavating a ceremonial platform.

Maya farmers in the area, who rely on rainfall to nourish crops, offer up different prayers. For over 4,000 years, Maya families, commoner and wealthy, have relied on water from the skies. Without rain, crops are decimated, river trade ceases, and drinking supplies …

How Fishing Created Civilization

From Nile River Catfish to Anchovies in the Andes, Great Empires Were Built on Harvesting the Sea

Of the three ancient ways of obtaining food—hunting, plant foraging, and fishing—only the last remained important after the development of agriculture and livestock raising in Southwest Asia some 12,000 years …