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Old World maize: archaeological evidence? Yes!
I've been looking through some of my old posts on this subject, and I've
found in there something that was overlooked previously by my critics.
Some rather important piece of evidence in an article published in 1971.
So this is a partial repost of my old posting.
As some of us are aware, the discussion about maize seemed to have bogged
down with the conclusion that the archaeological "smoking gun" has not
been in evidence as yet. Where's the archaeological evidence for maize in
the Old World? my critics asked. "You have other types of evidence, but not
the "hard fossil proof"!"
Meanwhile, this proof seems to have been presented already! Take a look,
Dr. Vishnu-Mittre, an Indian archaeologist, found that proof as far back
as 1966... Surprise!
The rest of that old post of mine deals mostly with theoretical issues
that still seem quite relevant...
Yuri Kuchinsky | "Where there is the Tree of Knowledge, there
-=- | is always Paradise: so say the most ancient
in Toronto | and the most modern serpents." F. Nietzsche
----- my webpage is for now at: http://www.io.org/~yuku -----
Subject: Old World maize: a twisted tale
From: email@example.com (Yuri Kuchinsky)
[Part 4 of 4]
[This is a continuation of the previous postings based on the article
PRE-COLUMBIAN MAIZE IN ASIA, by M. D. W. Jeffreys, in MAN ACROSS THE SEA,
U. of Texas Press, 1971, Carrol L. Riley et al., eds.]
And now, let's conclude with the evidence coming from some
Vishnu-Mittre, (1966: 155) describing carbonized food grains
and their impressions on potsherds from Kaundinyapar, an
archaeological site in Madhya Pradesh, north India, wrote that
"the evidence of maize in India is not in any case later than
1435 AD.... and tends to establish its pre-Columbian age". (p.
Maize cultivation did not start in Kashmir, and therefore it
must have been cultivated elsewhere in Asia earlier still.
Well, much more information is available in Jeffreys' article. I
only included small bits and pieces of the information he assembled.
Perhaps it's now time to think of the implications and the meaning
of this investigation. I believe maize was ancient in the Old World.
One can argue about the chronology and the particulars of its
introduction from America, sure, and we don't yet have all the
information that can still be found to clarify these matters. But
what if the case is proven? What would it mean?
Well, the implications go far indeed. They go as far even as to cast
doubt on the whole story of maize as we know it -- not just in Asia,
but everywhere in the Old World, including in Europe! Let us ask, Is
it possible that such a thing could have been distorted so? Is it
possible that the Europeans could have created such a powerful false
myth of "Columbus Bringing Maize to the World" -- out of the thin air?
Well, perhaps there's a way to escape from the maximalism of such a
claim. One obvious thought that comes to me is that Columbus may
have brought from America a _more productive breed of maize_. The
breeds that existed in the Old World previously _may have been_
archaic and inferior -- similar to the "primitive corn" still found
in Asia. This is one possibility.
But, on the whole, with the evidence before me, I certainly think
that a false myth that I refer to _could have been_ constructed.
This is the inevitable product of the Eurocentrism that seems only
too obvious in the very revealing replies of some posters who
already contributed their "words of wisdom", and of immeasurable
sarcasm and mockery to these threads. Look at their strange anger
and spleen. Look at them jeer and cheer... How absurd that those
Asians could have had maize without the "enlightened" and "mighty"
Europeans showing them the way! That those Asians may have -- to the
contrary -- shown _the Europeans_ the way? How absurd is it that
those ancient Americans may have been able to navigate oceans
thousands of years ago?! Impossible, the mockers sneer...
What are the real roots of that mockery, of such self-assurance, of
this overweening certainty that these individuals demonstrate? If
you ask me, this attitude comes pretty close to the very same
attitude that created Western colonialism -- and the incredible
exploitation of the native peoples around the world in not so