Jan 22, 2021

Checking In #32: Dr. Kenneth Tankersley on Ancient Maya Filters

Checking In #32: Dr. Kenneth Tankersley on Ancient Maya Filters

In this episode of Checking In: A Series With WQP, WQP Managing Editor Lauren Del Ciello checks in with Dr. Kenneth Tankersley, associate professor, departments of anthropology and geology, at the University of Cincinnati. The chat discusses new research which shows evidence of a water filtration system at the Corriental reservoir in Guatemala, which served Ancient Maya civilizations in the city of Tikal. Dr. Tankersley discusses the process of discovering the system used zeolite to filter contaminants and provide the community with high quality drinking water. He also reflects on how aspects of the 2,000-year-old water filter system would be effective today if applied in Native communities across the globe. Finally, the chat unpacks obstacles the Mayan's would have faced to clean drinking water and what still remains unknown.

Key moment & wisdom (28:15): “Water is the most precious resource on the planet, and it’s endangered. The same issues we need to address for our survival, people had to address those thousands of years ago and—like the Maya—they solved them. There are answers in terms of our own adaptability and our own struggle to survive. They can be found in the past. As with zeolite.”

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