The Research Institute at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center is teaming up with the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office on a collaborative project that will look at what can be learned from maize recovered from ancestral Pueblo archaeological sites.
The project, Developing a Comprehensive Database of Archaeological Maize for Colorado and the Greater Southwest, will build off the experience of the Pueblo Farming Project – a decade-plus collaboration between Crow Canyon and the Hopi tribe that examined Hopi corn cultivation techniques to help understand ancient farming in the Mesa Verde region of Southwest Colorado. The new project, which is being supported in part by a grant from History Colorado State Historical Fund, will create the first-ever comprehensive, publicly accessible database of curated ancestral Pueblo maize.
The project is directed by Mark Varien, executive vice president of the Research Institute and Stewart Koyiyumptewa, Program Manager at the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office. Key project personnel will include: Kyle Bocinsky, director of the Research Institute; Kelly Swarts, archaeogeneticist and faculty at the Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna, Austria; and Sarah Oas, paleoethnobotanist and Ph.D. candidate at Arizona State University.
The research team of Hopi scholars and archaeologists will assess ancient maize and modern Pueblo varieties and determine criteria that specimens must meet to be viable for future analyses. After filling data gaps on maize collections in Colorado museums, the team will develop a research design for a large-scale, multimethod analysis of ancient maize.
The SHF grant will fund three primary project initiatives in 2019:
The development of a maize database – essentially, an integrated record of provenience, condition and current location of all the maize recovered from ancestral Pueblo sites and, potentially, other cultures in the Southwest. The effort includes strategic visits to key museums and curation facilities.A pair of workshops in spring and fall will be held at Crow Canyon to assess connections between ancient maize and modern Pueblo varieties, and determine criteria that specimens must meet to be viable for future analyses as well as develop a research design for a large-scale, analysis of ancient maize. Portions of the workshops will be open to the public.Develop tools for sharing information about how ancient maize is collected, curated and analyzed.