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From Frontier to Forefront: Microbotanical Evidence of Early Holocene Horticulture in the Middle Cauca Valley, Colombia

Author(s): Anthony Ranere ; Javier Aceituno ; Ruth Dickau

Year: 2015

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Summary

Archaeological research in the Middle Cauca region of Colombia has identified significant human presence during the early to middle Holocene (10,600-3600 uncal BP), associated with lithic technology focused on plant processing (e.g. handstones, milling stone bases, and "hoes"). Starch residue analysis on these tools has documented the early availability and use of several domesticates; both exogenous, such as maize (Zea mays) and manioc (Manihot esculenta), and possibly indigenous, such as achira (Canna edulis) and cocoyam (Xanthosoma sp.). The Middle Cauca valley was a conduit for the dispersal of cultigens in and out of South America by early forager-horticulturalists, who were also potentially experimenting with the domestication of local plants. These results reinforce Piperno’s pioneering work demonstrating that the humid Neotropics were an early and independent cradle of plant domestication and agricultural origins in the New World.

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From Frontier to Forefront: Microbotanical Evidence of Early Holocene Horticulture in the Middle Cauca Valley, Colombia. Ruth Dickau, Javier Aceituno, Anthony Ranere. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394926)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America