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 Trees and climate change: Faster growth, lighter wood
14.08.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests
01.08.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Air pollution leads to cardiovascular diseases

21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Researchers target protein that protects bacteria's DNA 'recipes'

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>