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Papas Nativas: Native Potatoes

Moray_Webready_002-800x533Some time ago there was a post on this here website discussing the consumption of wild potatoes in the US Southwest by native populations as early as 8000-9000 BCE. It appears similar activity was occurring far to the south, in Andean cultures. Emergence Magazine provides us a "Potato Travelogue" of Peru. The investigative authors describe that:

Approximately 8,000 years ago, the first wild potatoes were harvested from the high-altitude soils surrounding Lake Titicaca at the foot of the Andes Mountains. Since then, more than 4,000 varieties of native potatoes—known in Peru as papas nativas—have been cultivated in the Andean highlands. On a month-long journey through Peru, we encounter the diverse flavors, cultural significance, agricultural challenges, history, and daily uses of papas nativas.

This piece includes lavish photography and video interviews with some of the farmers and scientists working to preserve the biodiversity of Peru's favorite food. As a real thrill for the avocational archaeologist, Day 16 of the travelogue shows Moray (pictured above by Emergence Magazine),

"...an ancient agricultural laboratory built by the Incas in the Sacred Valley. Seated at 11,090 feet, Moray is a series of enormous circular stone terraces with different soils at every level. These soils are believed to have been imported from different parts of the Andean region. Studies suggest that the Inca observed the crops planted in each terrace, helping them determine which varieties were best suited for the varying climates across their civilization."

Please enjoy the whole travelogue (https://emergencemagazine.org/story/papas-nativas/), and afterwards check out some of Emergence Magazine's other articles.

/s/ webmaster

 

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