WHO WE ARE SERVICES RESOURCES




Most recent stories ›
AgroInsight RSS feed
Blog

Tourist development September 10th, 2023 by

Vea la versi√≥n en espa√Īol a continuaci√≥n

Rural communities are starting to welcome local tourism as a way to make money. And more people in the expanding cities of Latin America are now looking for outings they can take close to home.

This year, local officials in Anzaldo, in the provinces of Cochabamba, Bolivia, asked for help bringing tourists to their municipality. Aguiatur, an association of tour guides, offered to help.

In late June, Alberto Buitrón, who heads Aguiatur, and a carload of tour guides, visited Claudio Pérez, the young tourism-culture official for the municipal government of Anzaldo. They went to see local attractions, and people who could benefit from a tour. They also printed an attractive handout explaining what the visitors would see.

In late July, ads ran in the newspaper, promoting the tour, and inviting interested people to deposit 250 Bolivianos ($35) for every two passengers, into a certain bank account. Ana and I live in Cochabamba, 65 kilometers from Anzaldo, and we decided to make the trip, but the banks had already closed on Friday . So, I just went to the Aguiatur office. Alberto was busy preparing for the trip, but he graciously accepted my payment. ‚ÄúAnd with the two of you, the bus is closed,‚ÄĚ Alberto said, with an air of finality.

But by Saturday, more people had asked to go, and so Alberto charted a second bus and phoned the cook who would make our lunch on Sunday. At 8 PM, Saturday night, she agreed to make lunch the next day for 60 people instead of 30. In Bolivia, flexible planning often works just fine.

Early Sunday morning, we tourists met at Barba de Padilla, a small plaza in the old city of Cochabamba, and the tour agents assigned each person a seat on the bus. That would make it easy to see if anyone had strayed. Many of the tourists were retired people, more women than men, and a few grandkids. They were all from Bolivia, but many had never been to Anzaldo.

At each stop, Aguiatur had organized the local people to provide a service or sell food. In the hamlet of Flor de Pukara, we met Claudio, the municipal tourist official, but also Camila, just out of high school, and Zacarías Reyes, a retired school teacher. Camila and don Zacarías were from Flor de Pukara, and they were our local guides to show us the pre-Inka pukara (fortified site). This pukara was a cluster of stone walls on top of a rock crag. Tour guide Marizol Choquetopa, from Aguiatur, cautioned the group not to leave trash and not to remove any of the ancient pot sheds. And no one did, as near as I could tell. Our local guides told us stories about the place: spirits in the form of young ladies are said to appear on one rock outcropping, Torre Qaqa (Cliff Tower), to play music and dance at night.

We walked along the stone banks of the river, the Jatun Mayu. Then Camila’s mother served us phiri, a little dish of steamed cracked wheat, topped with cheese. It was faintly fermented, and fabulous.

In the small town of Anzaldo, we met Marco Delgadillo, a local agronomist and businessman, who has moved back to Anzaldo after his successful career in the city of Cochabamba. His hotel, El Molino del B√ļho (Owl Mill), includes a room for making and tasting chicha, a local alcoholic beverage brewed from maize. There was plenty of room for our large group in the salon, where we had a delicious lunch of lawa, a maize soup with potatoes, roast beef and chicken.

After lunch, our two buses gingerly navigated the narrow streets of the small town of Anzaldo. The town plaza had recently been fitted out with large models of dinosaurs to encourage visitors to come see fossils and dinosaur tracks. Two taxis were parked at the plaza, and the drivers evidently thought that they owned the town square. As the buses inched by, one taxi driver got out and angrily offered to come over and give our bus driver a beating. The passengers yelled back, urging the taxi driver to be reasonable, and he quieted down.

Our sense of adventure heightened by that buffoonish threat of violence, we drove out to the village of Tijraska. Local leaders clearly wanted to receive visitors. The community had prepared for our visit by putting up little signs indicating how to get to there. One of the leaders, don Mario, welcomed us in Quechua, the local language. Then he paused and asked if the tourists could understand Quechua.

Several people said yes, which delighted don Mario.

We strolled down to the banks of the muddy reservoir, in a narrow canyon. One young man, Ramiro, had bought a new wooden boat, with which he paddled small groups around an island in the reservoir.

For the grand finale, we stopped at the home of Ariel Angulo, a respected Bolivian musician, song writer and maker of musical instruments. Don Ariel played for us, and showed us the shop where he carves his wooden charangos, small stringed instruments. He explained that the charango was copied from a colonial Spanish instrument, the timple. After living in the city of Cochabamba for years, don Ariel has moved back home, to Anzaldo. The best charangos used to be made in Anzaldo, before the instrument makers moved to Cochabamba. Don Ariel hopes to teach young people to make charangos, and bring the craft back to Anzaldo.

This was the first ever package tour to come to Anzaldo. Local tourism from the emerging big cities of tropical countries can be a source of income for rural people, while teaching city people something about the countryside. Some people who left the small towns are retiring back in the countryside, and can help provide services to visitors and even bring traditional crafts back. It is easier for Bolivian tour guides to work with local tourists than foreign ones. For example, the local people speak the national languages. The local tour guides know how to deal with customers who sign up late. There may be risks of over-visitation, but for now, municipal governments are willing to explore tourism as development. And it can be done locally, with no foreign investment or international visitors.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to David Garviz√ļ, Irassema Guzm√°n, Marizol Choquetopa and Alberto Buitr√≥n of Aguiatur, for a safe and educational trip to Anzaldo. Alberto Buitr√≥n, Ana Gonz√°les and Paul Van Mele read and commented on an earlier version of this story.

A video from Anzaldo

Here is a video about producing healthy lupins, a nutritious. local food crop, filmed in Anzaldo in 2017. Growing lupin without disease

TURISMO PARA EL DESARROLLO

Jeff Bentley, 10 de septiembre del 2023

Las comunidades rurales empiezan a fomentar el turismo local para generar ingresos. Y más gente en las crecientes ciudades de Latinoamérica empieza a buscar destinos cerca de la casa.

Este a√Īo, algunos oficiales en Anzaldo, en las provincias de Cochabamba, Bolivia, pidieron ayuda para traer turistas a su municipio. Aguiatur, una asociaci√≥n de gu√≠as tur√≠sticos, ofreci√≥ su ayuda.

Fines de junio, Alberto Buitrón, el director de Aguiatur, y varios guías, visitaron a Claudio Pérez, el joven Responsable de Turismo-Cultura del municipio de Anzaldo. Visitaron a varios atractivos, y a vecinos que podrían aprovechar del tour. Además, imprimieron un lindo folleto explicando qué es que los visitantes verían.

Fines de julio, salieron anuncios en el peri√≥dico, promoviendo el tour, e invitando a los interesados a depositar 250 Bs. ($35) para cada par de pasajeros, en una cuenta bancaria. Ana y yo vivimos Cochabamba, a 65 kil√≥metros de Anzaldo, y reci√©n decidimos viajar despu√©s del cierre de los bancos el viernes. Por eso, fui no m√°s a las oficinas de Aguiatur. Alberto estaba en plenos preparativos para el tour, pero amablemente me atendi√≥. ‚ÄúY con ustedes dos, el bus est√° cerrado,‚ÄĚ dijo Alberto, con el aire de la finalidad.

Sin embargo, para el sábado más personas pidieron cupos, así que Alberto contrató un segundo bus, y llamó a la cocinera que haría nuestro almuerzo el domingo. A las 8 PM, el sábado, ella quedó en hacer almuerzo para el día siguiente para 60 personas en vez de 30. En Bolivia, la planificación flexible suele funcionar bastante bien.

A primera hora el domingo, los turistas nos reunimos en la peque√Īa plaza de Barba de Padilla, en el casco viejo de Cochabamba, y los gu√≠as tur√≠sticos asignaron a cada persona un asiento en el bus. As√≠ podr√≠an llevar un buen control y no perder a nadie. Muchos de los turistas eran jubilados, m√°s mujeres que hombres, con algunos nietitos. Todos eran de Bolivia, pero muchos no conoc√≠an a Anzaldo.

En cada escala, Aguiatur hab√≠a organizado a la gente local para dar un servicio o vender comida. En el caser√≠o de Flor de Pukara, conocimos a Claudio, el oficial de turismo municipal, pero tambi√©n a Camila, reci√©n egresada del colegio, y Zacar√≠as Reyes, un profesor jubilado. Camila y don Zacar√≠as eran de Flor de Pukara, y como gu√≠as locales nos mostraron la Pukara preincaica. La pukara era una colecci√≥n de muros de piedra encima de un pe√Īasco. Nuestra gu√≠a Marizol Choquetopa, de Aguiatur, advirti√≥ al grupo no botar basura y no llevar los tiestos antiguos. Y que yo sepa, nadie lo hizo. Nuestros gu√≠as locales nos contaron cuentos del lugar: esp√≠ritus en forma de se√Īoritas que aparecen sobre una un pe√Īasco, Torre Qaqa, para tocar m√ļsica y bailar de noche.

Caminamos sobre las orillas pedregosas del río Jatun Mayu. Luego la mamá de Camila nos sirvió un platillo de phiri, trigo quebrado al vapor con un poco de queso encima. Ligeramente fermentada, era fabulosa.

En el pueblo de Anzaldo, conocimos a Marco Delgadillo, agr√≥nomo local y empresario, que hab√≠a retornado a Anzaldo despu√©s de su exitosa carrera en la ciudad de Cochabamba. Su hotel, El Molino del B√ļho, incluye un cuarto para hacer y catear chicha de ma√≠z. Hab√≠a amplio campo para nuestro grupo en el sal√≥n principal, donde disfrutamos de un almuerzo delicioso de lawa, una sopa de ma√≠z con papas, carne asada y pollo.

Despu√©s del almuerzo, nuestros dos buses lentamente navegaron las estrechas calles del pueblo de Anzaldo. En la plaza se hab√≠an instalado modelos grandes de dinosaurios para animar a los turistas a visitar para ver a los f√≥siles y huellas de dinosaurios. Dos taxis estacionados se hab√≠an adue√Īado de la plaza. Los buses pasaban cent√≠metro por cent√≠metro, cuando un taxista sali√≥ y, perdiendo los cables, ofreci√≥ dar una paliza a nuestro conductor. Los pasajeros gritamos en su defensa, sugiriendo calma, y el taxista se call√≥.

Después del show del taxista payaso, tuvimos más ganas todavía para la aventura, mientras nos dirigimos a la comunidad de Tijraska. Los dirigentes claramente querían recibir visitas. La comunidad había preparado para nuestra visita, colocando letreros indicando el camino. Uno de los dirigentes, don Mario, nos dio la bienvenida en quechua, el idioma local. Luego pausó y dijo que tal vez no todos hablábamos el quechua.

De una vez, varios dijeron que sí, lo cual encantó a don Mario.

Caminamos a las orillas de un reservorio con agua color de tierra, en un ca√Ī√≥n angosto. Un joven, Ramiro, hab√≠a comprado una nueva lancha. Subimos en peque√Īos grupos y a remo nos mostr√≥ una isla en el reservorio.

Para cerrar con broche de oro, visitamos la casa de Ariel Angulo, un respetado m√ļsico boliviano. Tambi√©n es cantautor y hace finos instrumentos musicales. Don Ariel toc√≥ un par de canciones para nosotros, y nos mostr√≥ su taller de charangos de madera. Explic√≥ que el charango se copi√≥ durante la colonia de un instrumento espa√Īol, el timple. Despu√©s de vivir durante a√Īos en la ciudad de Cochabamba, don Ariel ha vuelto a su tierra natal, a Anzaldo. En anta√Īo los mejores charangos se hac√≠an en Anzaldo, antes de que los fabricantes se fueron a Cochabamba. Don Ariel espera ense√Īar a los j√≥venes a hacer charangos, y devolver esta arte a Anzaldo.

Nuestra gira a Anzaldo era el primero en la historia. El turismo local, partiendo de las pujantes ciudades de los pa√≠ses tropicales, puede ser una fuente de ingreso para la gente rural, mientras los citadinos aprendemos algo del campo. Algunas personas que abandonaron las provincias est√°n volviendo, y pueden ayudar a dar servicios a los visitantes, y hasta dar vida a las artes tradicionales. Es m√°s f√°cil para gu√≠as bolivianos trabajar con turistas locales que con extranjeros. Por ejemplo, los turistas locales hablan los idiomas nacionales. Los gu√≠as locales saben lidiar con clientes que se apuntan a √ļltima hora. S√≠ se corre el riesgo de una sobre visitaci√≥n, pero para ahora, los gobiernos municipales est√°n explorando al turismo local como una contribuci√≥n del desarrollo. Y se puede hacer con recursos locales, sin inversi√≥n extranjera y sin turistas internacionales.

Agradecimientos

Gracias a David Garviz√ļ, Irassema Guzm√°n, Marizol Choquetopa y Alberto Buitr√≥n de Aguiatur, por un viaje seguro y educativo a Anzaldo. Alberto Buitr√≥n, Ana Gonz√°les y Paul Van Mele leyeron e hicieron comentarios sobre una versi√≥n previa de este relato.

Un video de Anzaldo

Aquí está un video que muestra cómo producir tarwi (lupino) sano, un nutritivo alimento local, filmado en Anzaldo en el 2017. Producir tarwi sin enfermedad.

 

Fourteen ninety-one April 25th, 2021 by

Several friends have asked me, as an anthropologist, what I thought of Charles Mann’s book, 1491, so after finding a copy during Covid, I have to say that it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

I might have read it years ago if not for its subtitle: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. I was expecting something New Age, about visits from outer space. But it’s not that at all.

Mann visited some of the major pre-Hispanic sites, and read widely, but as a journalist he also interviewed a lot of archaeologists, which makes for lively reading, and an excellent one-volume history of the New World.

Long isolated from the Old World, the Native Americans independently developed agriculture, the foundation for complex societies. But because the hemisphere had been isolated, her people had no previous exposure to European ills like smallpox, measles and hepatitis. This made the Native Americans immunologically na√Įve, and susceptible to Old World diseases, which wiped out perhaps 90% of the New World population after Columbus. Every few years a new epidemic would carry off half the people.

In 1491 there were a lot of people living in the Americas. The Amazon Basin was not an unbroken wilderness. Cassava and other crops supported dense populations of Amazonian farmers.

High in the Andes, early farmers domesticated the potato, sweetpotato, and other roots and tubers. These crops fed the Wari, Tiwanaku and Inca Empires with their fine masonry of giant stones, and the khipu: a unique system of recording information on knotted strings.

Ancient Mexicans domesticated maize, beans, squash, and chili. These were the basis for various civilizations, like the Olmecs, Toltecs, Mixtecs and the Maya (who had life-like sculpture and a full-blown writing system).

Mann reminds us that American Indians have rarely been given the appreciation they deserve for their achievements, many of which were made possible by agriculture.  1491 is not so much a new revelation as a superb compilation and a compelling narrative. Mann is amazed that this part of American history is not taught in high schools. It’s not, but it should be, and his book still deserves to be widely read.

Further reading

Mann, Charles C. 2005 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. New York: Vintage Books. 541 pp.

Mann acknowledges William Denevan for his insight that before Columbus, the Amazon Basin had been densely inhabited by farmers growing permanent crops.

Denevan, William M. 2001 Cultivated Landscapes of Native Amazonia and the Andes. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 396 pp.

Related Agro-Insight blogs

Khipu: A story tied in knots

Stored crops of the Inka

Feeding the ancient Andean state

Feeding the Inca empire

Inka Raqay, up to the underworld

Photos

Temple of the Moon, Teotihuac√°n, Mexico. Machu Picchu, Peru. Stela B, Cop√°n, Honduras. Photos by J. Bentley

We think with our hands January 24th, 2021 by

Vea la versi√≥n en espa√Īol a continuaci√≥n

I live on a busy street. But the traffic is slow enough that I can observe the drivers. Many have their eyes on the road. Some are looking at their phones, but occasionally I see a motorcycle rider speaking to his passenger, and making hand gestures. Taking one’s hands off the handlebars to gesture is dangerous, and pointless if your listener is behind you and can’t see you wave and point.

So why would people in their right minds risk their lives to make hand gestures to someone out of view?

Anthropologists have found that people all the world over move their hands when they speak, sometimes unconsciously and sometimes to convey meaning. We know how to point at something to let the shopkeeper know we want to buy it, or to hold out our palm while saying ‚Äúand the corn was this high.‚ÄĚ Hand signs can be used to say anything. Deaf sign languages are complete communication systems, as expressive as speech. Native American sign language was once the lingua franca across the plains from southern Canada to northern Mexico.

But unconscious hand gesturing is different; we aren’t always aware that we are doing it. We gesture while speaking on the phone. Even the blind, who have never seen hand signs, instinctively gesture while speaking to other blind people.

In his book on translation, David Bellos tells a story about people giving speeches at international organizations like the United Nations. The speakers tend to read prepared remarks, so they know what to say. They stand and speak, hands resting quietly on the podium. To see the hand movements, you have to go down to the booth for the simultaneous translators, who gesture wildly as they struggle to find the right words in another language.

A recent review of the evolution of languages describes how our primate relatives communicate with their hands and with their voices. Over the past six million years, human gestures and vocalization probably developed together, even if spoken language eventually gained the upper hand, so to speak.

Speech has probably always been accompanied by hand gestures. Sometimes these are complete signs, like pantomiming a scribbling pencil to let the waiter know you’d like the check, but we often move our hands unintentionally, which may add clarity to meaning, like a wagging finger. And sometimes, we just move our hands as we make an effort to express ourselves. We may be unaware of the hand movements, but they help us to find the right words. We all gesture like the motorcyclists on my street, who haven’t lost their minds; they are just gathering their thoughts.

Further reading

Bellos, David 2011 Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything. New York: Faber and Faber. 373 pp.

Corballis, Michael C. 2012. How language evolved from manual gestures. Gesture 12(2): 200‚Äď226.

Fröhlich, Marlen, Christine Sievers, Simon W. Townsend, Thibaud Gruber, and Carel P. van Schaik 2019. Multimodal communication and language origins: Integrating gestures and vocalizations Biological Reviews. doi: 10.1111/brv.12535

Iverson, Jana M. and Susan Goldin-Meadow 1998. Why people gesture when they speak. Nature 396(6708): 228-228.

Related Agro-Insight blogs

At the end of the words

The wine rose

PENSAMOS CON LAS MANOS

Por Jeff Bentley, 24 de enero del 2021

Vivo en una calle con bastante tr√°fico. Pero caminan lento no m√°s, y puedo ver a los conductores. Muchos s√≠ se fijan en la calle. Algunos miran sus celulares, pero de vez en cuando veo a gente manejando moto, hablando con su pasajero y haciendo gestos con las manos. Quitar las manos de la manilla para hacer gestos es peligroso, y no tiene sentido si el pasajero est√° detr√°s de ti y ni puede ver lo que se√Īalas.

Entonces ¬Ņpor qu√© la gente en su sano juicio arriesgar√≠a su vida para hacer gestos con la mano a alguien que ni le pueda ver?

Los antrop√≥logos han comprobado que los pueblos de todo el mundo mueven las manos cuando hablan, a veces de forma inconsciente y otras para transmitir un significado. Indicamos algo con el dedo para hacerle saber al tiendero que queremos comprarlo, o extendemos la palma de la mano mientras decimos “y el ma√≠z era as√≠ de alto”. Las se√Īas manuales pueden usarse para decir cualquier cosa. Las lenguas de signos de los sordos son sistemas de comunicaci√≥n completos, tan expresivos como el habla. El lenguaje de signos de los ind√≠genas norteamericanos serv√≠a para comunicaci√≥n entre las tribus en las llanuras desde el sur de Canad√° hasta el norte de M√©xico.

Pero el gesto inconsciente de las manos es diferente; no siempre somos conscientes de que lo hacemos. Hacemos gestos mientras hablamos por teléfono. Incluso los ciegos, que nunca han visto los signos de las manos, gesticulan instintivamente cuando hablan con otros ciegos.

En su libro sobre la traducción, David Bellos cuenta una historia sobre las personas que dan discursos en organizaciones internacionales como las Naciones Unidas. Los oradores suelen leer los discursos preparados para saber qué decir. Se ponen de pie y hablan, con las manos apoyadas tranquilamente en el podio. Para ver los movimientos de las manos, hay que ir a la cabina de los traductores simultáneos, que gesticulan a todo dar mientras se esfuerzan por encontrar las palabras adecuadas en otro idioma.

Una reciente rese√Īa de la evoluci√≥n del idioma describe c√≥mo nuestros parientes primates se comunican con las manos y con la voz. A lo largo de los √ļltimos seis millones de a√Īos, los gestos y la vocalizaci√≥n del ser humano probablemente se desarrollaron juntos, aunque el lenguaje hablado gan√≥ la carrera.

Probablemente, el habla siempre ha ido acompa√Īada de gestos con las manos. A veces se trata de signos completos, como la pantomima de un l√°piz que garabateamos para hacer saber al mesero que queremos la cuenta, pero a menudo movemos las manos sin querer, lo que puede a√Īadir claridad al significado, como al mover el dedo para decir ‚Äúya no‚ÄĚ. Y a veces, simplemente movemos las manos en un esfuerzo por expresarnos. Puede que no seamos conscientes de los movimientos de las manos, pero nos ayudan a encontrar las palabras adecuadas. Todos gesticulamos como los motociclistas de mi calle, que no han perdido la mente; s√≥lo est√°n juntando sus pensamientos.

Lectura adicional

Bellos, David 2011 Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything. Nueva York: Faber y Faber. 373 pp.

Corballis, Michael C. 2012. How language evolved from manual gestures. Gesture 12(2): 200‚Äď226.

Fröhlich, Marlen, Christine Sievers, Simon W. Townsend, Thibaud Gruber, y Carel P. van Schaik 2019. Multimodal communication and language origins: Integrating gestures and vocalizations Biological Reviews. doi: 10.1111/brv.12535

Iverson, Jana M. y Susan Goldin-Meadow 1998. Why people gesture when they speak. Nature 396(6708): 228-228.

Previos blogs de Agro-Insight

At the end of the words

The wine rose

The migrations of farmers July 12th, 2020 by

Last week I wrote about the migrations of our hunter-gatherer ancestors out of Africa. By 10,000 years ago people had colonized Eurasia, the Americas, Africa, Australia and the large islands near Southeast Asia without developing agriculture. What happens next is described in the second half of Peter Bellwood’s First Migrants.

Complementary studies by archaeologists and plant geneticists give a good picture of early agriculture in various parts of the world. Food plants such as wheat, barley, chickpeas, peas and lentils, were cultivated rather than gathered from the wild around 9,500 years ago, starting in the Fertile Crescent. People also kept cattle, sheep and goats.

Crop plants varied by region, as agriculture began to spread, depending on which food plants occurred naturally.

Center of origin Some key species domesticated
Fertile Crescent
(Middle East)
Wheat, barley, chickpeas, peas, lentils, cattle, sheep, goats
China (Yellow &
Yangtze River Basins)
Rice, broomcorn millet, foxtail millet, soy, pigs
New Guinea Highlands Taro, bananas, sugar cane
Sub-Saharan Africa
(north of the rainforest)
Pearl millet, African rice, sorghum, yams
Andes Potatoes, sweetpotatoes, other roots and tubers, llamas, alpacas
Southern Mexico Maize, beans
Eastern USA Sunflowers, other crops (now mostly lost)

Bellwood argues that ancient farmers spread their languages and their crops together, across large regions. As farming produced more food per hectare of land than hunting and gathering, populations of agrarian peoples grew, and within a few centuries began to expand into the lands of their hunter-gatherer neighbors. Over thousands of years, farming peoples colonized much of the world, before states or grand civilizations appeared. Along the way farmers absorbed at least some of the native peoples they met. When a language is spread over a large area, it can eventually break up into several different languages. Each generation makes small changes in their speech, which accumulate over the centuries, evolving into different languages.

Starting in the Fertile Crescent, speakers of Indo-European languages took their wheat, barley, peas, sheep, goats and cattle to cover most of Europe, Persia and eventually Northern India.

As many as six language families began in what is now China and spread from there to most of East Asia.   Most spectacularly, one of these language families, Austronesian, was spread by farmers who took boats from the Asian mainland to Taiwan, then to the Philippines, and on to the Bismarck Archipelago. In the islands of Southeast Asia, the Austronesians abandoned rice cultivation in favor of the fruits and roots domesticated in New Guinea. Armed with double-hulled canoes and a deep knowledge of navigation, the Austronesian speakers then went on the settle the Oceanic Islands from Polynesia in the east to Madagascar in the west, bringing bananas to Africa fifteen centuries ago.

On the other hand, some crops have spread from one neighboring group of people to the next, without the mass movement of people and languages. Maize, for one, was domesticated in southern Mexico, and spread north, into the southwestern US by 2100 BC, as the seed of this high-yielding crop was spread from one group to the next. Yet in many cases, ancient farmers did migrate across large areas, taking their native languages, and their familiar crops with them.

Further reading

Bellwood, Peter 2013 First Migrants: Ancient Migration in Global Perspective. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Merrill, W. L., Hard, R. J., Mabry, J. B., Fritz, G. J., Adams, K. R., Roney, J. R., & MacWilliams, A. C. 2009 The diffusion of maize to the southwestern United States and its impact. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.106(50), 21019-21026.

Related blog stories

Our African ancestors

Anasazi beans

The sunflower: From Russia with love, and oil

The old cat and mouse game

Design by Olean webdesign