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

Larry Caldwell (larryc@teleport.com) wrote:
: In article <hmccullo.36.32FA0021@ecolan.sbs.ohio-state.edu>,
: hmccullo@ecolan.sbs.ohio-state.edu (Hu McCulloch) wrote:
: >                 But maize seems to have disappeared 
: > from Karnataka sometime after the Hoysala period, since it was not
: >  present, according to P&S, in 1960.  My guess (which I posted several 
: > weeks ago on a related thread) is that some sort of blight, smut or 
: > mildew attacked it and wiped out cultivation of it.  A century later, 
: > and especially outside of Karnataka, the objects in the sculptures would 
: > come to be thought of as being as imaginary as many of the other 
: > objects in Hindu sculptures.  
: This is an interesting proposition.  One of my objections to the
: "maize in India" proposition was that maize was introduced into
: Europe from the New World, not from India,

But Larry, you're assuming that this is a well-established fact. This
certainly has been questioned, e.g. by Jeffreys in his MAN ACROSS THE SEA
article. He adduced considerable evidence that this cannot be assumed as


: Another question I have is why maize would have been the only food
: crop traded. 

You would have been right to question this if this were so. But, in fact,
about a dozen of other plants have been suggested as possibly having been
dispersed from America across the Pacific pre-Columbus (and vice versa).
The sweet potato is the best known among the specialists. Coconut is
another one (going the other way). The bottle gourd, etc. (In the latter
two cases, reasonable arguments have been made that the transmission was
unaided by humans.) The diffusion of the domestic chicken (from Asia to
America) is another mystery. 

: North American natives also developed squash and beans 
: as food crops.  Squash, in particular, are easy to grow, vastly 
: productive, and a great source of vegetable oils as well as food.
: Squash cultivation was well established in the New World by 1000 ce.
: Other vegetable candidates for trade include tobacco and potatoes,
: though potatoes are perishable and more difficult to transport.



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
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