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Early Domesticated Cottons from Archaeological Sites in Central Coastal Peru

  • S. G. Stephens (a1) and M. Edward Moseley (a2)

Seeds, fiber samples, and boll parts recovered from 4 pre-ceramic sites in the Ancon-Chillon area of Peru were compared with those of living forms, both wild and cultivated, collected from the coastal areas of Ecuador and Peru. All the living forms belong to the species, Gossypium barbadense L., and it was concluded that the archaeological cotton belonged to this same species. Chocolate and reddish-brown colored fibers recovered from 4 sites (Tank, Punta Grande, Pampa, and Camino) and encompassing a time sequence from approximately 2500 B.C. to approximately 1750 B.C. resembled closely those still to be found in present-day cultivars in coastal Peru and Ecuador. On the other hand, certain characteristics exhibited by the archaeological material (small beaked bolls, fuzzy seeds, narrow fiber diameter) resemble more closely those of present-day wild forms. Seed size and fiber diameter show progressive increases from the older to the more recent levels. The finding of (1) chocolate colored fibers and (2) a single boll with a fringeless nectary (both characteristic of G. barbadense) among the archaeological samples suggests that they represent a very early stage in the domestication of that species.

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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.

M. Edward Moseley , and Linda K. Barrett 1969 Change in pre-ceramic twined textiles from the central Peruvian coast. American Antiquity 34:162165.

T. C. Patterson , and M. Edward Moseley 1968 Late pre-ceramic and early ceramic cultures of the central coast of Peru. Nawpa Pacha 6:115133.

C. Earle Smith Jr., and S. G. Stephens 1971 Critical identification of Mexican archaeological cotton remains. Economic Botany 25:160168.

S. G. Stephens 1965 The effects of domestication on certain seed and fiber properties of perennial forms of cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L. American Naturalist 99:355372.

S. G. Stephens 1970 The botanical identification of archaeological cotton. American Antiquity 35:367373.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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