January 8, 2006
Ancient American irrigation
In the Andean foothills of Peru, not far from the Pacific coast, archaeologists have found what they say is evidence for the earliest known irrigated agriculture in the Americas.From the NY Times. If it took me a while to post this, I can plead working on historian's time. As exemplified in the article itself:
An analysis of four derelict canals, filled with silt and buried deep under sediments, showed that they were used to water cultivated fields 5,400 years ago, in one case possibly as early as 6,700 years ago, archaeologists reported in a recent issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Other scholars hailed the discovery as adding a new dimension to understanding the origins of civilization in the Andes. The canals are seen as the long-sought proof that irrigation technology was critical to the development of the earliest Peruvian civilization, one of the few major cultures in the ancient world to rise independent of outside influence.
The initial discovery was made in 1989, but it took years of further excavations, radiocarbon dating and other analysis before Dr. Dillehay felt ready to announce the find.
"We wanted to make sure that the dates were correct and to find more early canals," Dr. Dillehay said. "There are now four sites with canals and probably more."
Posted by David on January 8, 2006 2:17 PM