Beans, Baskets, and Basketmakers Testing the Assumption that Ceramics were Necessary for the Adoption of Bean Cultivation on the Prehistoric Colorado Plateau
RE Burrillo

Paleodietary investigations attest to heavy reliance on maize among Basket maker II groups living in the Colorado Plateau region by at least 400 BC. Maize is notably deficient in two essential amino acids, lysine and tryptophan, making it a poor protein source on its own. Early Mesoamerican farmers mitigated this shortfall by supplementing with beans, but most archaeologists don’t place beans in the Basket maker region until around 500 AD. Researchers have long assumed that the late arrival of beans is contingent upon the need for ceramic cooking vessels for longterm boiling, and have advanced numerous hypotheses to account for attendant nutritional implications. To test this assumption, a series of experiments was designed to examine the feasibility of cooking beans in waterproofed baskets using hot-rock boiling. Results of these tests offer clues about subsistence strategies and diet breadth among pre-ceramic Southwestern populations.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jaa.v3n1a1