In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Introduction Gayle J. Fritz and Patty Jo Watson Hugh Cutler and Leonard Blake worked together on archaeological plant remains for a quarter century at the Missouri Botanical Garden. During that time they published dozens of articles and reports and provided many more unpublished responses to various archaeologists. After Cutler’s retirement in 1977, Blake continued for two more decades. Some of their significant works, however,werenotwidelycirculated,orforvariousreasonsbeyondtheircontrol did not make it into print. Those works are included in this volume, as is a complete bibliography of their archaeobotanical publications, and the full text of “Plants from Archaeological Sites East of the Rockies,” their bestknown compilation and one much sought after. This inventory was originally a mimeographedsummaryofspeciesfoundatvarioussiteswhoseexcavatorssent material to Cutler for identification. The mimeographed version was produced in 1973 in 200 copies (collated, stapled, and informally bound by Hugh, his wife Marian, and Leonard). They had mailed out all but a half dozen copies when, in 1976, the Missouri Archaeological Society offered to publish a microfiche edition. That version has long been virtually inaccessible. The full text of the 1976updateof“PlantsfromArchaeologicalSitesEastoftheRockies”isavailable here in print (Chapter 10) for the first time. Other works in this volume include a broad overview of corn grown by Native North Americans (Chapter 1), a playful calculation of field sizes and corn yields based on observations by early Spanish explorers in the Southeast (Chapter 3), a discussion of the sources of processed corn carried in canoes by early European traders in the upper Midwest and Canada (Chapter 6), and reports of archaeological plant remains from sites in New Mexico (Chapter 2), North Carolina (Chapter 4), Missouri (Chapter 5), Michigan (Chapter 7), and Illinois (Chapters 8 and 9). Blake has written introductory paragraphs to each chapter, explaining the circumstances under which the work was conducted and, if relevant, commenting on subsequent revisions in archaeological or botanical perspectives. Most of these papers were written some time ago, but they have far more thanhistoricalvalue.TheoverviewofNorthAmericanIndiancorndefinesbasic terms, clarifies racial classifications, and synthesizes archaeological, historical, and ethnographic information. Readers unfamiliar with Cutler’s and Blake’s breadth of knowledge will be impressed by their attention to social and ritual aspects of the use of corn and their excellent discussions of corn growing, storing, processing, and cooking. “Corn for the Voyageurs,” written by Blake in 1994, presents unique and sophisticated insights into the logistics of provisioning early French trading expeditions. Several of the archaeobotanical reports contain valuable comparative data, not available elsewhere, from additional sites. Table 2.1, for example, in the chapter on cultivated plants from Picuris, gives a summary of row numbers of cobs from thirty-four components at sites across the Southwest, and Table 2.2 provides comparable data for cobs collected from modern Picuris in 1953 and 1963. Table 5.2, in the chapter on plants from Historic Missouri and Osage sites, summarizes measurements of beans from nine historic period sites in Missouri and Illinois. Corn from the three North Carolina sites presented in Chapter 4 is compared metrically with assemblages from Virginia and Georgia, strengthening Blake’s suggestion that small cobs from 31Gs30 represent the early season corn mentioned in historic accounts. These types of information do not lose relevance with time. Seven chapters in this volume deal with assemblages or issues postdating European contact. This comes at a time of increasing attention by archaeologists and historians to early Indian-White interactions, making the work especially significant today. Inevitably, some statements written as long as thirty-five years ago no longer reflect current thinking. Blake points out many of these in his introductory comments. People interested in recent evidence pertaining to the antiquity of cultigens in any given region or the evolutionary pathways for domestication of corn, beans, and squash need to consult current literature. Readers of this volume should be alert to temporal shifts in the views of Blake and Cutler between the 1960s and 1990s. For example, Eastern Eight Row corn was seen originally as having “dominated most of the region east of the Mississippi” by a.d. 1200 (Chapter 1). Later, however, it became evident that the dominance of Eastern Eight Row occurred primarily in the northern United States and Atlantic seaboard, whereas populations with higher average row numbers were common across much of the Midsouth and lower reaches of the Mississippi Valley even into post-Columbian times (Chapters 4 and 8). Hugh C. Cutler earned a master of arts degree in botany at the University...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.