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 Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University

nachricht New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>