Considering the abundance of archaeological sites and the numerous archaeological surveys conducted throughout the Caribbean region, evidence of prehistoric cultivation of maize (Zea mays subsp. mays) is surprisingly rare. The rarity of botanical or other evidence of maize agriculture hampers efforts to chart the spread of this cultigen through the Caribbean and to understand its local and regional importance at different times. To better constrain and understand the biogeography and chronology of maize in the Caribbean we searched for evidence of maize agriculture in lake sediments from two mid-elevation lakes in the Dominican Republic, Laguna Castilla and Laguna de Salvador. The two sedimentary records contain abundant maize pollen dating back to around A.D. 1060. These prehistoric maize pollen grains constitute the earliest evidence of maize from the interior of Hispaniola and represent some of the earliest and most securely dated evidence of maize agriculture on the island of Hispaniola and from the Caribbean as a whole.
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