Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UMaine researcher puts new date on early agriculture

02.03.2006
Archeology and genetics team up to put a much earlier date on South American agriculture

Research by UMaine researcher Dan Sandweiss places cornmeal on the menu for native Americans much earlier than previously believed.

Working with colleagues from Ithaca College and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Sandweiss discovered evidence of cultivated corn in the Cotahuasi Valley of southern Peru that dates back to nearly 4,000 years before the present, suggesting that corn was an important crop in that region more than 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.

"Smithsonian researcher Linda Perry’s analysis of starch grains extracted from sediment samples and stone tools discovered at the site revealed two kinds of corn that had been ground into flour. No one has found a record of either from anywhere near this time for this part of Peru," said Sandweiss. "At this early time period, agricultural hadn’t been demonstrated in the highlands of Peru, Bolivia or Chile."

The tools and sediments were discovered when a small test pit revealed the outline of a 3,600- to 4,000-year old circular house near Cerro Aycano, a 14,600-foot mountain that was an important source of obsidian for people of the region. Obsidian is a black volcanic glass that was used for making tools and other items.

Evidence of potato starch was also found at the site.

In addition to changing some long-held beliefs about South American agriculture, the discovery also points to the potential of microfossil analysis as an important new tool for archeologists. The technique is used to identify tiny plant particles found on tools, container fragments and other artifacts removed from dig sites.

The latest in a number of important discoveries Sandweiss has made in Peru, the microfossil remains are an excellent example of Sandweiss’s multidisciplinary approach to archeology.

"By bringing in as many different kinds of people as possible who can bring their expertise to bear in what we are doing, we are able to find unexpected but significant results that might otherwise have been missed," said Sandweiss. "It is truly a process of unexpected discovery, and what you get out of it depends on how well you keep open to new ideas."

Dan Sandweiss | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umaine.edu/

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Cascading use is also beneficial for wood
11.12.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht The future of crop engineering
08.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>