Ancient Mesoamerica

Special Section: Classic Maya Landscape Archaelogy

The Pre-Hispanic Maya Reservoir System at Kinal, Peten, Guatemala

Vernon L. Scarborougha1, Robert P. Connollya2 and Steven P. Rossa3

a1 Department of Anthropology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA

a2 Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

a3 Department of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA


The southern Lowland Maya hilltop center of Kinal is shown to be a human-modified watershed. The broad paved surfaces of the elevated central precinct acted as runoff-catchment areas directing precipitation into gravity-fed channels and reservoirs. In a geographical zone affected by an extended dry season and away from permanent water sources, Kinal demonstrates the components of a rainfall-dependent water-management system characteristic of other large sites in the region.