Tikal was settled in the Middle Formative Period (400-100 B.C.) by milpa (slash and burn) agriculturalists who grew the crops traditional in the area, beans, corn (maize) and squash. Water was stored in reservoirs for the dry seasons. City households of the classical period had inadequate space for traditional agriculture, but grew breadnut trees which were nourishing and left time for other pursuits. Like Teotihuacan in central Mexico, Tikal was a major trading post in the southern Maya lowlands. Tikal imported granite, quartzite, hematite, pyrite, jade, slate, and obsidian.
Stelae from Tikal date from the 3rd century to 889 with hieroglyphs commemorating the rules of the kings using the Maya long-count dates.
"Tikal, Guatemala and Mesoamerican Urbanism," by William A. Haviland. World Archaeology, Vol. 2, No. 2, Urban Archaeology (Oct., 1970), pp. 186-198.
Patricia A. McAnany "Tikal" The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Brian M. Fagan, ed., Oxford University Press 1996.
Tikal. Encyclopædia Britannica Online http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9072463.