Northern Belize Landuse Project


Robert Rosenswig: Anthropology

Advisor: Takeshi Inomata


I have begun developing a land use classification system so as to be able to quantitatively explore current land use in northern Belize. I wish to document land use around the Progresso Lagoon region of the Corozal province where I am involved in archaeological investigations. Over the next few years I will be conducting a survey of this region to document the distribution of archaeological remains across the landscape. The use of satellite image classification provides a first step in the process of understanding how the region was utilized. In addition to my archaeological interest in the region, the Progresso Lagoon area represents a microcosm of the current northern Belize economic and ethnic landscape with Mestizo sugarcane growers living in Progresso Town on the west shore of the lagoon and Mennonite farmers on the east shore at the community of Little Belize.

This project represents the first step in an ongoing analysis of current land use patterns in northern Belize with the ultimate goal of producing a better understanding of Pre-Columbian land use. During the summer of 2000 I will ground truth 13 land classes that have been established and refine the classification system. This will then provide an accurate modern land use baseline for future spatial analysis of Pre-Columbian agricultural practices. Employing different technologies with different objectives, past and present inhabitants of the region are similarly limited by the natural environment they inhabit, so understanding the present will help to explore the past.

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1 May 2000