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MAIZE Project - Archaeological History Detail

Overview

Piecing together the story of maize domestication is an interdisciplinary endeavor including archaeological, biological, and genetic evidence. Biochemical research genetically identified the wild progenitor of domestic maize, but certain chapters in the history of maize domestication predate the emergence of written records and fall within the domain of the archaeological sciences. Archaeological evidence is used to locate the geographic center of maize domestication, the emergence of maize-based agricultural economies, and the cultural context in which maize domestication occurred.

The story of maize domestication begins in Mesoamerica more than five thousand years ago well prior to the age of European exploration in the New World. During this era, Mexico was inhabited by Pre-Columbian hunting-gathering populations.

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