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Antiquity of Maize Cultivation in Ecuador: Summary and Reevaluation of the Evidence

Deborah M. Pearsall and Dolores R. Piperno
American Antiquity
Vol. 55, No. 2 (Apr., 1990), pp. 324-337
DOI: 10.2307/281650
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/281650
Page Count: 14
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Antiquity of Maize Cultivation in Ecuador: Summary and Reevaluation of the Evidence
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Abstract

Identification of maize phytoliths from the Preceramic Vegas and Formative period Real Alto sites, Guayas Province, Ecuador, has raised the issue of the antiquity of maize in Ecuador. This paper reviews how maize is identified using phytoliths and addresses criticisms of this technique. Our reexamination of the original Vegas and Real Alto samples using Piperno's three-dimensional variant method confirms the presence of maize in western Ecuador by at least 5000 B.C. Remains of charred maize from other sites suggest that more than one race was being utilized by the Formative period.

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