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Re: Old World maize: archaeological evidence? Yes!

In article <5e9shg$9sk$1@trends.ca> yuku@mail.trends.ca (Yuri Kuchinsky) writes:
>Peter van Rossum (pmv100@psu.edu) wrote:
>: So even J&P (who are championing the Precolumbian maize in India 
hypothesis) >: have trouble reconciling the imprints with their analysis.
>Well, I just wanted to draw a line between the pollen evidence, such as 
>it is, and the possible impressions of corncobs on pre-Columbian 
>potsherds. Two different things.

Yes, I agree with you, they are two different things.  However, in both cases 
it is not possible to claim that they are definite evidence of Precolumbian 
maize in India.  We both agree that at present there doesn't seem to be any 
definitive evidence reported of finding actual Precolumbian maize remains in 
India, and there is substantial disagreement of what caused the patterning 
observable on the sherds (some think it may have been a maize cob, others 
argue that there are problems with this identification).  This is why I will 
continue to maintain that at present I am unaware of any solid evidence of 
Precolumbian maize in India (there are a number of suppositions but each is 
subject to a variety of problems of interpretation).  Still all we need is one 
maize cob in a secure context which produces a reliable Precolumbian C-14 date 
to settle the issue, without such a find the evidence will in my opinion 
remain without archaeological verification.

>: Well, I don't know if he has decided to retract his original view on this
>: point but it seems pretty clear that there is a great deal of debate as to
>: whether he was initially correct.  And anyway his original view is not nearly
>: so strong as you claim it to have been ("was certain maize was in Kashmir 
>: before 1430"). 
>Well, he said "in any case not later than 1435" (see the full quote in my 
>previous post).

Here it is you who is misunderstanding the point.  You claimed he, "was 
certain maize was in Kashmir before 1430."  If you read the primary material 
you will see that he is confident that the *sherds* are older than 1435 A.D., 
he is obviously less certain that the impressions on those sherds were made by 
a Precolumbian maize cob.  In none of the articles I have read by 
Vishnu-Mittre does he state that the case is in anyway unequivocally settled.  
That is why your statement goes beyond what V-M actually says.

>: Also note the recent paleobotanical investigation of Kashmir
>: by Lone et al (1993) which does not report finding any Precolumbian maize in
>: any of the assemblages investigated.
>I should look it up, thanks for pointing me to this work.

No problem, hope it helps.  As I noted into a previous post I have found a 
number of references to analyses of the botanical remains from Indian sites.  
Unfortunately virtually all of these come from periodicals which are not 
carried by my university library.  Let me know if you would like me to supply 
you with the references I have found - but obviously I can't verify their 

Peter van Rossum

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