Thursday, March 02, 2006

Few more items before calling it a day (EEF news will be posted tomorrow):

Early Andean maize is unearthed

Archaeologists say they`ve found evidence that ancient Peruvians grew maize more than a millennium earlier than previously thought.

Maize was originally cultivated in Mexico and archaeologists have evidence the crop was grown as early as 7,000 years ago in Ecuador. But they had not known how quickly the practice spread southward into the Andes.

The evidence was found at a dig at the Waynuna Site in Peru`s Catahuasi Valley.

Hmmm. Don't say what the date is exactly. Before 7,000? Or just 1000 years earlier than thought in this area?

Pit of shells may lend clues to Calusa culture

Fifteen chipped and broken 1,300-year-old lightning whelk shells lay jumbled together Tuesday like a pile of wadded paper in a shallow pit on Useppa Island.

Beside them lay a fractured horse conch shell.

A University of California-Los Angeles doctoral candidate thinks the shells are what remains of an early Calusa tool-making workshop and might mark a turning point in Southwest Florida’s prehistory.

“The whelks are a pile of failures, rejects — these people were making whelk axes,” said John Dietler, who is investigating early Calusa tool making and politics for his doctoral dissertation. “The horse conch was used to shape the tools. We’ve got the smoking gun and the scraps.”