Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Early Andeans Ate Corn

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—The amount of microscopic corn found in pollen records, the residues left on stone tools, and in fossilized feces, suggests that people living in the Peruvian Andes 5,000 years ago farmed for survival. It had been thought that early Andean civilizations depended upon marine resources for food, since larger pieces of corn are rarely found. “People started to find corn at the inland sites, and the argument was that the corn was really a condiment and used for ceremonial purposes,” said Jonathan Haas of The Field Museum. Traces of sweet potato and beans were also found.