Origin and Environmental Setting of Ancient Agriculture in the Lowlands of Mesoamerica

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Science  18 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5520, pp. 1370-1373
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5520.1370

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Archaeological research in the Gulf Coast of Tabasco reveals the earliest record of maize cultivation in Mexico. The first farmers settled along beach ridges and lagoons of the Grijalva River delta. Pollen from cultivated Zea appears with evidence of forest clearing about 5100 calendar years B.C. (yr B.C.) [620014C years before the present (yr B.P.)]. LargeZea sp. pollen, typical of domesticated maize (Zea mays), appears about 5000 calendar yr B.C. (6000 yr B.P.). AManihot sp. pollen grain dated to 4600 calendar yr B.C. (5800 yr B.P.) may be from domesticated manioc. About 2500 calendar yr B.C. (4000 yr B.P.), domesticated sunflower seeds and cotton pollen appear as farming expanded.

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