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Journal Article

The Cultural Context of Plant Domestication in Eastern North America

Bruce D. Smith
Current Anthropology
Vol. 52, No. S4, The Origins of Agriculture: New Data, New Ideas (October 2011), pp. S471-S484
DOI: 10.1086/659645
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/659645
Page Count: 14
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Abstract

The timing and sequence of the independent domestication of indigenous eastern North American seed plants (Cucurbita pepo, Helianthus annuus, Iva annua, Chenopodium berlandieri) and the subsequent development of a crop complex are discussed within a broader environmental and cultural context. The settlements that have yielded the earliest record of eastern domesticates are all small and situated in resource-rich lower-order river valley corridors within oak-savannah and oak-hickory forest regions. Well-preserved floral and faunal assemblages indicate continued substantial reliance on a wide range of wild species with no evidence of resource depletion. Similarly, there is no indication of landscape packing in terms of high site density in these resource-rich river valleys, calling into question developmental models of domestication and agricultural origins that rely on population pressure or resource imbalance as causal factors.

Notes and References

This item contains 62 references.

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