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26 February 2019
Seeds of ancient extinct plant found in Ontario

Once again an archaeological assessment, required under law before any new development, has yielded some astonishing results. In this instance the site is proposed for housing and is located in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.
     Archaeological Services Inc. had been commissioned by the local authority to investigate the site. What they found was so unusual that they called in the specialist services of the University of Toronto Mississauga and in particular Professor Gary Crawford of the Department of Anthropology.
     A large quantity of charred seeds had been found which were subsequently identified as dating back to 900 BCE and come from a now extinct species of quinoa, known by the Latin name of berlandieri jonesianum.
     Professor Crawford is quoted as saying "Finding domesticated seeds that are so old in Ontario is special". In total approximately 140,000 seeds were found, leading Professor Crawford to speculate that "We always wondered if they [Indigenous Canadians] were also exchanging perishable materials. We're taking  the conservative view that these seeds were traded [...] in Kentucky, Illinois and Arkansas this was a very important foodstuff".

Edited from Eureka Alert! (14 January 2019)

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