Agriculture's Roots Get a South Pacific Twist. (New Guinea Went Bananas)

By Bower, B. | Science News, June 21, 2003 | Go to article overview

Agriculture's Roots Get a South Pacific Twist. (New Guinea Went Bananas)


Bower, B., Science News


Situated in the South Pacific islands, remote New Guinea seems an unlikely place for the invention of agriculture. Yet that's precisely what happened there nearly 7,000 years ago, according to a new investigation.

Inhabitants of this tropical outpost cultivated large quantities of bananas about 3 millennia before the arrival of Southeast Asian seafarers, say archaeologist Tim P. Denham of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and his colleagues. Agriculture thus arose independently in New Guinea, the scientists conclude in an upcoming Science.

Until now, convincing evidence for ancient agriculture came only from the Middle East (SN: 10/28/00, p. 280), China, the eastern United States (SN: 9/20/97, p. 180), South America, and a region encompassing parts of Mexico and Central America (SN: 5/24/97, p. 322). Reports in the 1970s that New Guinea belonged in this group were criticized for relying on patchy remains and uncertain dates from an excavation of a swampy highland site called Kuk.

"Only a few regions were geographically suited to become homelands of full agricultural systems," says archaeologist Katharina Neumann of J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, in a commentary accompanying the new article. "New Guinea seems to have been one of them."

This discovery challenges the traditional notion that agriculture inevitably led to the rise of large civilizations with stratified social classes, Denham and his coworkers assert. Current New Guinea societies are relatively small and grounded in egalitarian practices, much as they seem to have been before the rise of agriculture, according to the researchers.

In renewed investigations at Kuk, which included radiocarbon dating of charcoal in separate soil layers, Denham's team identified three early phases of land use. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Agriculture's Roots Get a South Pacific Twist. (New Guinea Went Bananas)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.