[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Maize origins [was re: "Corn" in medieval Europe]

Mr McCulloch,

I does not matter how beautiful are the photographs Mr Johannessen will 
provide.  The issue has been discussed for over two months, I believe, in 
sci.arch.mesoamerican, and even for the unusual first proponent, the issue 
cannot be demonstrated if corn cobs or kernels are not found in the right 
contexts in Asia or wherever your imagination takes them.  And they have not 
been found in all the excavations.

That is it.  The pictures of the objects you are pushing so hard as Maize are 
subject to interpretation, and Indian archaeologists have reccognized  them as 
"an imaginary fruit bearing pearls known in Sanskrit as 'Muktaphala'". (Payak, 
M.M., and Sachan, J.K.S.  1993 "Maize Ears Not Sculpted in 13th Century 
Somnathpur  Temple in India." Economic botany. APR 01 1993, vol. 47  no. 2, P. 

I posted. a molnth ago or so,  all references I could find on the subject, and 
you mention none of them except the one you like.  Why?

Having been trained as an economist myself, I do know about the temptation of 
using assumptions here and there.  But in archaeology the physical evidence 
is the ultimate referee.  And it is not there.

There are many. many, many more traits that suggest (practical, not absolute) 
isolation of the Americas, than those indicating relevant contacts.


P.S.  May I ask why is it that some people need so much that 
post-Pleistiocene, pre-Columbian contact occured between the Americas and the 
Old World?  It escapes me.

Additional comments follow:

In article <hmccullo.35.32F89D64@ecolan.sbs.ohio-state.edu>, 
hmccullo@ecolan.sbs.ohio-state.edu (Hu McCulloch) wrote:
>> This does not discount the possibility of maize being present
>>in the old world before Columbus, but if it was, it was certainly brought
>>there from the new world.
>>[botanical details deleted]
>>J. Emery
>>Dept. of Plant Pathology
>>UC Davis
>This is precisely J&P's point -- if maize is accurately depicted in 
>pre-Columbian sculptures in India, there must have been some contact.
>But _is_ maize what is being depicted?  As a botanist, do you know of 
>anything else the photographs in their article could be depicting? Do 
>cucumbers or bananas have parallel rows of kernels, overlapping husks, 
>and/or silk?  Pomegranates have been seriously suggested ...

Not in the literature, unless you provide me with a reference mentioning 
pomegranates.  I have found references only to the  'Muktaphala' mentioned 
above.  Also, there seems to be many other representations that do not 
resemble maize at all.  In any case, the sculptures are subject to 
interpretation, and that is a major obstacle to accepting Johannessen's point 
of view as "evidence" of anything but his own reading of the objects.

>Carl Johannessen is working on getting better color photos up on his U. Oregon
>Geography Dept. web site.  This may take several weeks, however, since 
>he is new at cybermatters.  (He didn't even know he _had_ a web site until 
>last month!)

I hope he includes an unbiased sample of all the objects in the hands of the 
deities, and not only those that looks just like maize.  But I seriously doubt 

Domingo Martinez-Castilla

Follow-Ups: References: