Quantitative analyses of maize cupule measurements from the Malpaso Valley, Zacatecas, Mexico, suggest that high-status households had preferred access to distinct maize varieties or maize with morphological traits that might be interpreted as high quality. Through a combination of cluster analysis, Principal Components Analysis, and chi-square tests, this study demonstrates the utility of examining the differential distribution of morphological traits, even when the remains occur primarily in the form of detached cupules. This study does not address the role of genetics and environment in the morphological variation of maize cobs, but it does show that an analysis of morphological variability in maize cobs can contribute to our understanding of social or economic differences both within and among archaeological settlements.
maize cupule morphology
Zea mays L