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Agricultural Adaptations in Response to Environmental Stress in the Tropics

Ebert, Claire (2022) Agricultural Adaptations in Response to Environmental Stress in the Tropics. In: Pitt Momentum Fund 2022.

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Maize is a major staple crop for modern populations, but the dynamics of the transition to maize farming in remains unknown. Maize was domesticated ~9000 years ago in the tropical lowlands of Mesoamerica, and by 4000 years ago it contributed over 70% of protein to ancient Mesoamerican diets. While archaeologists have intensively investigated the origins of agriculture in the Near East and Europe, this project investigates the early Mesoamerican maize farmers in Belize as a case study to place these developments within an environmental and climatic context. Our very limited knowledge of early farming in Belize suggests that it first intensified during the Late Archaic period (3500-1000 BC), when worldwide environmental records indicate that climates became drier. This project investigates how early farming was related to localized impacts of climate change by 1) locating Late Archaic sites through survey and 2) conducting excavations to recover Archaic materials that provide evidence for farming. Fieldwork will take place in Belize during summer 2022, with subsequent lab analysis, including radiocarbon on dating and analysis of botanical materials from excavations occurring in Fall 2022-Spring 2023. Because modern communities in the tropics (and worldwide) are dependent on agriculture, long-term perspectives from archaeology can inform agricultural management strategies where climate stress has significant implications for local economies and access to food resources.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ebert, Clairec.ebert@pitt.edu0000-0002-8554-2727
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Office of Sponsored Research > Pitt Momentum Fund
Date: 2022
Event Title: Pitt Momentum Fund 2022
Event Type: Other
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.18117/j2e7-4y94
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: Seeding Grants - Social Sciences, which includes Business, Policy, Law, Education, Informatics, and Social Work
Other ID: 5022
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2022 20:08
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2023 21:27


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