Ancient Underwater Potato Garden Discovered In Canada

Posted: Jan 2 2017, 9:26am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Ancient Underwater Potato Garden Discovered in Canada
Credit: Katzie Development Limited Partnership
 

The 3,800 year old underwater garden represents the earliest known evidence for wetland plant cultivation in prehistoric Pacific northwest

Archeologists have discovered an almost fully intact ancient garden in the Pacific Northwest. The site consists of thousands of blackened wapato tubers, a potato-like plant buried in British Colombia, Canada.  The discovery makes it the earliest known garden in the region which can provide more insight into the history of harvesting.

Dating back to 3,800 years ago, the garden once lied underwater and was part of the ecologically rich wetland. Researchers believe that ancient harvesters had used sophisticated engineering techniques to control the flow of water and to enhance the productivity of the plant. 

The garden was discovered during roadwork in the territory of Native American group Katzie First Nation just 30 kilometers east of Vancouver, near the Fraser River. The site remained submerged for centuries which may have protected plants from decaying over time. Archaeologists pulled up a total of 3,767 wapato plants from the site. They have also found about 150 wooden tools with rounded tips, similar to the shape of a trowel. The wooden tools would have been used to dig out the plants. 

Wapato tubers or Indian potato are usually grown in shallow wetlands and they were an important food source for the indigenous people of Americas. The ancient garden was grown inside a rocky pavement, leading researchers to believe that it was man-made deposit. Harvesters likely placed small stones in a uniform manner so, the potatoes remain close to surface and could be easily picked.

Besides the waterlogged garden, researchers have also uncovered a dry area where people would have lived and built their homes.

“This finding provides an example of environmental, economic, and sociopolitical coevolutionary relationships that are triggered when humans manipulate niche environs.” Study concludes.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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