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1 March 2010 Informal Planting of Squashes and Gourds by Rural Farmers in Southwestern Tamaulipas, Mexico, and Implications for the Local Adoption of Food Production in Prehistory
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Abstract
Present-day small-scale farmers near Ocampo, Tamaulipas, Mexico demonstrate behaviors that have broader implications for prehistoric human ecology. Common incidences of casual, informal cultivation of squashes and gourds take place around routine seasonal activities, often kilometers away from homes and conventional agricultural plots. These observations elucidate prehistoric subsistence behaviors in a region known for archaeological evidence of low-level food production. Such activities may serve as analogies for behaviors characterizing the extended period following the arrival of cultigens in Ocampo about 6,500 years ago, until the establishment of the first settled agricultural villages around 3,500 years ago. They demonstrate that domesticated squashes and gourds are sufficiently resilient to be left unattended for months at a time and still produce viable fruits to be collected and used when the cultivators return. Thus their use is compatible with a nomadic settlement system, and their adoption did not necessitate a drastic reduction in mobility. Contemporary cropping strategies illuminate how some plants that were fully domesticated by the time they arrived in Ocampo could have been successfully integrated into an otherwise hunter-gatherer lifestyle without major economic disruptions.
and J. Kevin Hanselka "Informal Planting of Squashes and Gourds by Rural Farmers in Southwestern Tamaulipas, Mexico, and Implications for the Local Adoption of Food Production in Prehistory," Journal of Ethnobiology 30(1), (1 March 2010). https://doi.org/10.2993/0278-0771-30.1.31
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