maize in Asia: other evidence

Larry Elmore ljelmore at montana.campus.mci.net
Wed Mar 11 02:26:26 EST 1998


Yuri Kuchinsky wrote in message <6e432a$enb$1 at news.trends.ca>...
>Jeffrey L Baker (jbaker at U.Arizona.EDU) wrote:
>: On Mon, 9 Mar 1998, Hu McCulloch wrote:
>:
>: >  Jeffrey L Baker <jbaker at U.Arizona.EDU> writes:
>:
>: > Chowdhury makes no mention of maize one way or the other in
>: > the 1972 note.  Does he expressly mention its absence in
>: > the Encyclopedia article?  Prior to what date?  500 BC again?
>:
>: He clearly mentions maize in the 1990 article, but does not mention any
>: evidence for palaeobotanical remains of maize.
>
>Hu,
>
>Jeff here is a little reticent to provide details. Perhaps the reason for
>this will become apparent later on in the post...
>
>I've actually looked up this publication in the library here.
>
>Chowdhury, K.A., 1990, Archaeobotany. In An Encyclopedia of Indian
>Archaeology, Vol. I, edited by A. Ghosh, pp. 6-9. E.J. Brill, New York.
>
>And guess what? While I would not recommend you should go out of your way
>to get these 2 volumes, since they devote to maize only a couple of short
>paragraphs, they contain the following rather interesting bits and pieces.
>
>In v. 1, p. 7, one finds the following:
>
>[begin quote]
>
>2.2.7 _Zea Mays_ (maize, makka). Imprints found at KAUNDINYAPURA in c.
>1435. Primitive (living fossil) maize in Sikkim is cytologically different
>from American of Carribean maize, supporting its pre-Columbian occurrence
>in the subcontinent, though perhaps it was reintroduced by the Arabs.
>
>[end quote]
>
>This of course refers to the work of Vishnu-Mittre which has been
>considered in some detail previously last year by me and Peter. It seems
>like Chowdhury is persuaded that this archaeological evidence is valid.
>
>And in v. 2, there's a brief description of this Kaundinyapura site. It is
>an ancient site with a well attested Megalithic level (which in India is
>considered to have begun ca. 1000 bce). The settlement then declined by
>late medieval times. In this description one finds the following:
>
>[begin quote]
>
>Besides a few Muslim coins, the cultural data for this Pd [late medieval]
>are very meagre, the only interesting object being a potsherd bearing the
>impression of a maize cob which, along with the prehistoric maize from
>Java, constitutes the only example of the pre-Columbian occurrence of
>maize in the Old World. (Dikshit, M.G., 1968, Excavations at
>Kaundinyapura, Bombay.)
>
>[end quote]
>
>That's all there is about maize in these 2 volumes. Not a word about the
>maize in the Hoysala temples. I found only one passing reference to these
>temples themselves.
>
>And there's also this reference to some precolumbian maize found in Java.
>I know nothing about this find, and the book does not explain.
>
>And in v. 1, on p. 163, I've found the following rather revealing
>statement.
>
>[begin quote]
>
>Lower Deccan. The area now covered by Karnataka State was ruled by several
>important dynasties in the late historical period -- the Chalukyas, ...
>the Hoysalas, etc., -- who studded the land with temples and left behind
>inscriptions and coins. But the archaeology proper of the area during this
>period [Late Historical] has been inadequately studied, with the result
>that hardly anything of the material culture is known.
>
>[end quote]
>
>So things are rather clear now. These archaeological digs in that area
>that some here were expounding about exist only in their own minds. The
>argument from the absence of evidence is completely irrelevant in this
>case.

Interesting. _Very_ interesting!

Larry





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