Physical and Social Landscape of Copán, Honduras

One aspect of the MayaCityBuilder Project is studying the relationships among environmental changes, settlement patterns, and societal impacts in the Copán Valley. The goal is to form an understanding of how the vegetation in this region has been used and how it was impacted before, during, and after Maya occupation. To do this, we explore the composition of plant species in the three different zones of the Copán Valley: mountainous, foothills, and valley floor. Questions addressed are:

  • Which plants were predominant at specific time periods?
  • Which plants did the Maya primarily use?
  • Was there a considerable anthropomorphic impact (e.g. deforestation, erosion) on the vegetation?

Our objective is to generate 3D models of Copan’s predominantplant species linked to GIS data about ancient plant usage, ecological zone, and time period to create 3D visualizations to simulate and explore landscape changes through time at Copan.