Corn and Culture in Central Andean Prehistory

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Science  12 May 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4905, pp. 690-692
DOI: 10.1126/science.244.4905.690


The prehistoric development and spread of domesticated maize varieties in the highlands of Peru, unlike the drier coastal deserts, is little known because ancient maize remains in this area survive mainly as fragments, kernels, and cob parts. An analysis of fragmented charred maize from prehistoric households (A.D.450 to 1500) in the Mantaro Valley reveals a developmental sequence of maize varieties for Highland Peru. The evidence indicates an adoption of large-kernelled maize varieties beginning in the Late Intermediate (A.D. 1000). This is centuries later than a similar change in maize, associated with the Wari expansion, that occurred in coastal areas, and indicates minimal Wari impact in the Mantaro Valley.

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