IsoMaize and The Ancient Dispersal of Maize

January 28th, 2020

How far back dates the cultivation of Maize and how did the practice of maize farming shape the sociopolitical developments in the Mississippi River region?

Ricardo Fernandes is running the IsoMaize project as part of the Mississippi: An Anthropocene River project, looking at ancient ecological impacts in the Mississippi River region. Fernandes is collaborating with other scholars at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and with researchers from the Archaeology Department at Washington University in St. Louis to isotopically trace the ancient spread and intensification of maize cultivation across North America. As it continues, the project will explore which variables may have facilitated or impeded the spread of maize farming in prehistory, and what role it may have played in the sociopolitical developments that resulted in proto-urban centers prior to the arrival of European colonizers.