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Re: Yuri's smoking guns (was: Testing Gourd Diffusion?

sci.archaeology discussed maize in 1994. I was reading it more regularly then,
and posted in a thread involving Hu McCulloch, myself, Jim Allison, Sandy Dunavan, and probably others. Here's that old post, with remarks made since posting [[enclosed like this]]. Paul Mangelsdorf's book
Corn: its origin, evolution, and improvement [by] Paul C. Mangelsdorf.  Cambridge, Mass., Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1974.
is a lot more interesting than the maize diffusion proposal, which was 
not ignored, but was killed dead.  
   It's interesting to read that the molecular biologists are disputing whether the evidence
for Polynesian human DNA in the DNA of Ecuadorians is convincing, but the horse this 
thread is beating is long dead.

Comments on Johannesen and Parker.

Like Jim Allison, I was not convinced that the sculptures  in fact represented maize, although that's not out of the question. I  think there are some flaws
in the reply by Payak and Sachan as well [[this refers to comment 5]]
A few comments:
1. JP p. 176 "The same  can likely be said for the elephant images on the upper front corners of Stela B at Copan, Honduras."
This isn't crucial to the argument of JP, but the "elephant images" are well known to be stylized macaws. It's dismaying to see them cropping up once again.
See R. Wauchope, _Lost Tribes and Sunken Continents_, for more about Grafton
Smith's "elephants"; or if you're really worried about  elephants, you can there get pointers to the actual literature.

2. See figure 1 of 
Payak, M. M. and J. K. S. Sachan. Maize in Somnathpur, an Indian mediaeval temple. Nature 335, 773-774.
By no stretch of the imagination is the object in the male deity's right hand a half husked corn ear. Note that in this picture, the rows are horizontal instead of vertical. Payak-Sachan say they looked at many friezes 

3.Hu McCulloch:
In particular, they note that the kernel arrangements
sometimes actually have parallel rows paired in such a way that rows 1&2,
3&4, 5&6 etc will be shoulder-to-shoulder while rows 2&3, 4&5 etc will be
offset 1/2 kernel.  This is caused by the pairing of the kernels in their
attachment to the cob, and is unique to maize.  JP note that Mangelsdorf used
this trait "as a specific key-identifying characteristic of maize in
archaeological representations in clay figures in Mexico." 
attachment to the cob, and is unique to maize.  JP note that Mangelsdorf used
this trait "as a specific key-identifying characteristic of maize in
archaeological representations in clay figures in Mexico."
To me it seems that the eye of faith is needed to see this arrangement in 
figs. 3, 4, 6-9. 

4. In figs. 15 and 16 the authors see a tassel of silk. Although this _could_ 
be a stylized piece of silk, it's far from being clear.

5.On the other hand, I don't think Payak and Sachan are to be relied upon when
 they say that "maize cultivation in the Karnataka commenced in the mid-1960's".
(Quotation from their _Nature_ article.)
Jeffreys argued about preColumbian maize in Africa and India in many articles,
and his claims that the words for maize in the languages of the Deccan meant 
Mecca sorghum were not challenged. 

6. Hu McCulloch:
>is mokka jola or something similar -- makka, makkai, etc jola or jona, ie
>"mokka" sorghum.  Jeffries in Man across the Sea concluded that this is "Mecca
>sorghum" ie "sorghum" introduced by the Arabs. But Mecca is not a big seaport,

>If the word is Arabic, the
>seaport of Mocha (: home of Mocha chip ice cream :) is a better contender.
Wouldn't it be a better idea to find out what the word means in Tamil, Kannada,
etc. instead of making a wild guess ? If you don't rely on Jeffreys's informant, 
it's not as though it's hard to find an English-Kannada dictionary.

> It is true that most of
>these sculptures are improbably (if not impossibly) voluptuous.  This may not
>be to the taste of the 20th century art critics, but perhaps these are
>accurate portraits of women who met 13th century standards of beauty.

Check out a newsstand. 

>PS argue that Hoysala maize couldn't have been the origin of traditional
>Tibetan and other mountain varieties, because there was absolutely no contact
>between the south and the north of India in the 13th century or before. 
 >Sounds unlikely to me.
Me too. One theory (Laufer) has it that maize was introduced to India by the 
Portuguese and diffused through Assam and Burma and/or Tibet in order to get
to China. This would account for the Chinese traditions of maize being introduced from the west as opposed to the other possibility of introduction 
by seaborne trade.  [[ N.B. tradition is notoriously unreliable.]]

8. There is no accepted instance of archaeological maize or maize pollen in Asia. This precludes maize reaching Asia long before Columbus, as Sdunavan pointed out, but as far as I can see does not preclude maize reaching Asia say in 1300 or 1400 AD. 
I'm underwhelmed by Jeffreys's article PreColumbian maize in Asia in Man across
the Sea, and especially by the linguistic aspects of his article, but it's reasonable to regard the question of preColumbian maize in Africa and Asia
as unsettled. [[Well, no. The diffusionist proposal of preColumbian maize was 
silly and  unsupported, _and now that flotation is widely used the idea is 
absurd_, as Sandy Dunavan pointed out later in the thread.]]

Follow-Ups: References: