Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

REEVALUATING THE EVIDENCE FOR MIDDLE WOODLAND MAIZE FROM THE HOLDING SITE

  • Mary L. Simon (a1)
Abstract

Maize fragments recovered from the Middle Woodland Holding site (11MS118) in the American Bottom have for several decades been recognized as the oldest directly dated maize east of the Mississippi River. A reevaluation of maize samples from this site indicates that finding was in error. Carbon isotope assessment (δ13C ratios) run on the original samples dated in 1994 indicated that they were not maize. Six additional samples originally identified as maize were submitted to the Illinois State Geological Survey for carbon ratio assessment and direct accelerated mass spectrometry dating. Three of the fragments, including one from the same feature dated previously, returned non-maize δ13C ratios. The other three samples were correctly identified as maize, but all returned post–A.D. 900 dates. These results invalidate the original report of Middle Woodland maize at Holding and support our ongoing reevaluations of maize histories in the American Bottom and western Illinois, which show that it was not an important cultivated crop plant in this part of the Midwest until about A.D. 900.

Maize fragments recovered from the Middle Woodland Holding site (11MS118) in the American Bottom have for several decades been recognized as the oldest directly dated maize east of the Mississippi River. A reevaluation of maize samples from this site indicates that finding was in error. Carbon isotope assessment (δ13C ratios) run on the original samples dated in 1994 indicated that they were not maize. Six additional samples originally identified as maize were submitted to the Illinois State Geological Survey for carbon ratio assessment and direct accelerated mass spectrometry dating. Three of the fragments, including one from the same feature dated previously, returned non-maize δ13C ratios. The other three samples were correctly identified as maize, but all returned post–A.D. 900 dates. These results invalidate the original report of Middle Woodland maize at Holding and support our ongoing reevaluations of maize histories in the American Bottom and western Illinois, which show that it was not an important cultivated crop plant in this part of the Midwest until about A.D. 900.

Los fragmentos de maíz recuperados en el sitio Holding (11MS118) del Periodo Middle Woodland en el “American Bottom” han sido reconocidos durante décadas como el maíz directamente datado más antiguo al este del río Mississippi. Una reevaluación de la muestra del maíz de este lugar indica que este hallazgo no fue acertado. Análisis de isótopos de carbono (índice de δ13C) llevados a cabo en las muestras originales fechadas en el año 1994 señalaron que no eran maíz. Seis muestras adicionales de Holding identificadas en principio como maíz fueron enviadas al Instituto Geológico del estado de Illinois para analizar su índice de carbono y ordenar el fechado por masa espectrométrica acelerada. Tres de los fragmentos, incluyendo uno del mismo rasgo fechado anteriormente, devolvió índices de δ13C distintos a los del maíz. Las otras tres muestras fueron correctamente identificadas como maíz, pero todas arrojaron fechas posteriores al 900 d.C. Estos resultados anulan el informe original del maíz durante el periodo Middle Woodland en Holding y respaldan nuestras reevaluaciones en curso sobre la historia del maíz en el “American Bottom” y al oeste de Illinois, que muestra que no era una planta de cultivo en esta parte del Medio Oeste hasta 900 d.C.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Mary J. Adair 2012 Refining Plains Woodland Chronology. Plains Anthropologist 57:183228.

Mathew Boyd , Tamara Varney , Clarence Surette , and Jennifer Surette 2008 Reassessing the Northern Limit of Maize Consumption in North America: Stable Isotope, Plant Microfossil, and Trace Element Content of Carbonized Food Residue. Journal of Archaeological Science 35:25452556.

Jefferson Chapman , and Gary D. Crites 1987 Evidence for Early Maize (Zea mays) from the Icehouse Bottom Site, Tennessee. American Antiquity 52:352354.

Nicholas Conard , David L. Asch , Nancy B. Asch , David Elmore , Harry Grove , Meyer Rubin , James A. Brown , Michael D. Wiant , and Thomas G. Cook 1984 Accelerator Radiocarbon Dating of Evidence for Prehistoric Horticulture in Illinois. Nature 308:443446.

Gary W. Crawford , David G. Smith , and Vandy E. Bowyer 1997 Dating the Entry of Corn (Zea mays) into the Lower Great Lakes Region. American Antiquity 62:112119.

John F. Doebley , Major M. Goodman , and Charles W. Stuber 1986 Exceptional Genetic Divergence of Northern Flint Corn. American Journal of Botany 73 (1):6469.

Gayle Fritz 1994 Are the First American Farmers Getting Younger? Current Anthropology 35:305309.

Gayle Fritz 1995 New Dates and Data on Early Agriculture: The Legacy of Complex Hunter-Gatherers. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 82:315.

John P. Hart , and William A. Lovis 2013 Reevaluating What We Know about the Histories of Maize in Northeastern North America: A Review of Current Evidence. Journal of Archaeological Research 21:175216.

Tristram R. Kidder 1992 Timing and Consequences of the Introduction of Maize Agriculture in the Lower Mississippi Valley. North American Archaeologist 13:1541.

Amber M. VanDerwarker , Gregory D. Wilson , and Dana M. Bardolph 2013 Maize Adoption and Intensification in the Central Illinois River Valley: An Analysis of the Archaeobotanical Data from the Late Woodland to Early Mississippian Periods (A.D. 600–1200). Southeastern Archaeology 32:147168.

Diane Wilson , and Timothy K. Perttula 2013 Reconstructing the Paleodiet of the Caddo through Stable Isotopes. American Antiquity 78:702723.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 9
Total number of PDF views: 118 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 562 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 3rd January 2017 - 21st July 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.