Date of Publication

Spring 4-28-2017

Document Type

Undergraduate Project

First Supervisor

Dr. Kristi Krumrine




The Maya, a once great civilization, seemingly vanished without an obvious reason, before the Spanish landed in the region. Some say that their downfall was a result of famine and inadequate nutrition. Surprisingly, most of the archaeological evidence surrounding the Classic Maya diet and subsistence methods indicates that they both adequately sustained the population to the point where there has been practically no change over hundreds of years. Change did not occur to the Maya diet or the classic subsistence methods until the late twentieth century when the tourism industry exploded in the area of the former Maya empire. The introduction of tourism caused a dramatic shift away from an agricultural economy towards a cash economy. This shift altered the diet and nutrition of the Maya, creating wealth disparities that had never before been faced by the Maya people. Research has now indicated that the modern Maya, due to the effects of tourism and coca-colonization, are in a worse situation regarding diet, subsistence methods, and resulting health complications than the Classic Maya were.