The Samaritan Report

A Newsletter for Those Who Actually Give a Damn; As Chomsky Said: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” Keep THAT In Mind.

Chris Muir's Day By Day

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Utter Enjoyment of Being Right

In one of the more recent examples of science taken by total, exasperating surprise is the discovery that gosh, maybe native South Americans learned cultivation within a few generations of the rest of the world! In our society, we place a special emphasis on domestic abilities, because globalization is "modern" and greenies would like a return to the "good old days." Well, here's news for them: they'll have to live at least fifteen thousand years in the past to get there. Is it such a leap of the imagination to suppose that global trade, however lacking in technology it might have been, was widespread at the crack of dawn of human civilization? Here's the piece for your utter enjoyment:

Andean Crops Cultivated Almost 10,000 Years Ago
Archaeologists have long thought that people in the Old World were planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting for a good 5,000 years before anyone in the New World did such things. But fresh evidence, in the form of Peruvian squash seeds, indicates that farming in the New and Old Worlds was nearly concurrent. In a paper the journal Science published last June, Tom Dillehay, an anthropological archaeologist at Vanderbilt University, revealed that the squash seeds he found in the ruins of what may have been ancient storage bins on the lower western slopes of the Andes in northern Peru are almost 10,000 years old. “I don’t want to play the early button game,” he said, “but the temporal gap between the Old and New World, in terms of a first pulse toward civilization, is beginning to close.”

The seeds aren’t the only things that support the argument. Dillehay also found evidence of cotton and peanut farming and what seem to be garden hoes; nearby are irrigation canals. What puzzles him is why the ancients of the Nanchoc Valley would make the switch to farming from hunting and gathering when a walk of just an hour and a half would bring them to a forest filled with nutritious foods. Some clues point to contact with outsiders and the exchange of foods and other products. The squash is not native to the area, and tools made from exotic cherts and jaspers from the highlands can be found in the same ruins. But there are also other factors, including the need for more food, both to feed a growing population and to use for ceremonies and other gatherings. “The general pattern,” Dillehay says, “is that there’s a technological, socioeconomic cultural package that indicates something unique and interesting took place.”

Heh They're so embarrased they can't devote more than two paragraphs to the story!


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