The Archaeology of the first Agricultural Communities in Mesoamerica

The area we call Central America is synonymous with the term Mesoamerica including parts of Mexico. Archaeologists have been excavating in this area and; forming theories concerning the origins of the first agricultural communities in Mesoamerica. “MacNeish and his colleagues discovered tiny (< 2 inches long) maize cobs in stratified deposits in Coxcatlán Cave. Though small, the cobs clearly were domesticated maize. Because the cobs, as the world’s oldest maize, were too important to be destroyed for radiocarbon dating, radiocarbon dates were produced from other organic remains associated with the same archaeological stratum. These dates led to the somewhat controversial conclusion that the earliest known domesticated maize cobs were about 7,000 years old.” This is an incredible find.

Another find which the source mentions are the “remains of domesticated squash” obtained from a “cave in Oaxaca” which when was between eight thousand and ten thousand years ago. It has been estimated that the fruits “were larger.” The experts Paul Mangelsdorf and George Beadle cannot agree on their theories of the ancestor of maize; of course, that is logical because they didn’t witness the history. All we can do is draw intelligent conclusions. If we were to take into considerations ancient writings; we would conclude that agriculture originated in the Garden of Eden with the first couple. After they were evicted, they brought forth the knowledge acquired during that time and applied it to wherever they established cities. When they were dispersed by language groups at the Tower of Babel; some groups traveled to Mesoamerica and continued with agriculture. They needed to pick whatever grew naturally in that section of the world; and domesticate them to fulfill their food, clothing and necessary kitchen tools.

The peoples of Mesoamerica kept careful records of their crops and depicted them on their pottery and art which are seen in the walls of their temples. “By reading Aztec records from the city-state of Tepetlaoztoc, a pair of scientists recently figured out the complicated equations and fractions that officials once used to determine the size of land on which tributes were paid. Two ancient codices, written from A.D. 1540 to 1544, survive from Tepetlaoztoc. They record each household and its number of members, the amount of land owned, and soil types such as stony, sandy, or “yellow earth” (National Geographic). Recent archeological discoveries suggest that history has erred in much of their recordings. History seemed to make Europeans the center and source of all civilization but archeological finds prove that when the colonists arrive they were surprised and envied the great cultures which they encountered.


 National Geographic. June 20, 2010      <>.