April 2, 2015

The Beginnings of Agriculture in the Caribbean Pushed Back by 1000 years.

A team of Cuban and Canadian researchers examined the shell-matrix site of Canimar Abajo in Cuba. They studied dental calculus, human bone collagen carbon and nitrogen isotopes. They found that ancient Caribbeans used cultivated plants 1000 years earlier than thought. The commonly accepted date for cultivation was 500 CE. The new study pushes this date back to 990-800 BCE. At this earlier date, beans, sweet potatoes and the toxic plant zamia was cultivated. The same research will now be extended to other Caribbean sites.
Their findings* were published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
*Y. Chinique de Armas, et al.,Starch analysis and isotopic evidence of consumption of cultigens among fisher-gatherers in Cuba: the archaeological site of Canímar Abajo, Matanzas, Journal of Archaeological Science, doi:10.1016/j.jas.2015.03.003
Popular Archaeology has the report here;
http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/spring-2015/article/scientists-discover-early-food-production-in-caribbean

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