The Natural and Constructed Landscape of Salinas de los Nueve Cerros, Guatemala


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Publication Date


Publication Title

Approaches to Monumental Landscapes of the Ancient Maya


Chapter 3, presented by Brent K. S. Woodfill and Marc Wolf, introduces Salinas de los Nueve Cerros, a site located at the highland-lowland nexus in western Guatemala, best known as being the largest of the ancient Maya saltworks in the southern lowlands. The site’s natural and constructed monumental landscape defined not only the city’s layout but also its economy and political structure. The most obvious of the saltworks were the brine stream and salt flats, but the salt industry changed the landscape in other ways—it was fueled by fires that needed a constant supply of firewood and allowed for the large-scale production of other commodities including dried, salted fish, which were harvested in large quantities from the Chixoy River and associated streams and oxbow lakes. All of these resources appear to have been tightly controlled by the local elite, who marked their presence with large administrative and public ritual structures.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)