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 New gene for atrazine resistance identified in waterhemp
24.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

nachricht Researchers discover a new link to fight billion-dollar threat to soybean production
14.02.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>