|Film Description:||Dr. Simon Martin, Associate Curator, American Section, Penn Museum.|
By at least 1000 BCE the ancient Maya were building massive temple platforms in the midst of dispersed settlements, an approach to urbanism that persisted for almost two millennia. The low density of these settlements was uniquely suited to their rainforest environment, based on an “agro-urban” system in which foodstuffs and other important crops were produced within the heart of the city, right up to the edge of palaces and ceremonial plazas. Major questions remain about how this system came about and functioned through time. Dr. Simon Martin’s takes us on a tour of the jungle cities, exploring the origins, operation, and ultimate collapse of one of the world’s most sophisticated tropical civilizations.