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Early Domesticated Cottons from Archaeological Sites in Central Coastal Peru

S. G. Stephens and M. Edward Moseley
American Antiquity
Vol. 39, No. 1 (Jan., 1974), pp. 109-122
DOI: 10.2307/279225
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/279225
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Early Domesticated Cottons from Archaeological Sites in Central Coastal Peru
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Abstract

Seeds, fiber samples, and boll parts recovered from 4 pre-ceramic sites in the Ancon-Chillon area of Peru were compared with those of living forms, both wild and cultivated, collected from the coastal areas of Ecuador and Peru. All the living forms belong to the species, Gossypium barbadense L., and it was concluded that the archaeological cotton belonged to this same species. Chocolate and reddish-brown colored fibers recovered from 4 sites (Tank, Punta Grande, Pampa, and Camino) and encompassing a time sequence from approximately 2500 B.C. to approximately 1750 B.C. resembled closely those still to be found in present-day cultivars in coastal Peru and Ecuador. On the other hand, certain characteristics exhibited by the archaeological material (small beaked bolls, fuzzy seeds, narrow fiber diameter) resemble more closely those of present-day wild forms. Seed size and fiber diameter show progressive increases from the older to the more recent levels. The finding of (1) chocolate colored fibers and (2) a single boll with a fringeless nectary (both characteristic of G. barbadense) among the archaeological samples suggests that they represent a very early stage in the domestication of that species.

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