3 800-year-old potato garden discovered in Canada

(iStock)
(iStock)

Ottawa - Ancient spuds recently dug up on Canada's Pacific coast are blackened and surely inedible, but are the first proof, say researchers, that North American natives tended gardens at least 3 800 years ago.

The excavated potato patch on the ancestral lands of the Katzie tribe in British Columbia is "the first evidence" of gardening by local hunter-gatherers of the era, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances' December issue.

Archaeologists led by Tanja Hoffmann and Simon Fraser University concluded that the inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest had engineered the wetland to amplify production of the wild food plant.

They installed a rock pavement that "formed a boundary for the cultivation" of the potatoes, which were found in growing position.

Also discovered at the site was close to 150 fire-hardened wood tool fragments, believed to have been the tips of "digging sticks".

Typically harvested from October to February, wapato was an important dietary source of starch through the winter months.

The archaeological excavation recovered 3 768 wapato tubers, also called Indian potatoes.

"The remains were dark brown to black in colour, and although only the exterior shell or skin survived on many, some also had the starchy material inside," said the study.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Who do you think is going to win the 2020 US election?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Biden is going to take it
46% - 6590 votes
It's four more years for Trump
54% - 7666 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
16.30
(+0.20)
ZAR/GBP
21.35
(+0.47)
ZAR/EUR
19.27
(+0.46)
ZAR/AUD
11.58
(+0.22)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.17)
Gold
1908.47
(-0.65)
Silver
24.65
(-1.13)
Platinum
873.00
(-1.11)
Brent Crude
42.06
(-3.35)
Palladium
2358.70
(-0.48)
All Share
55029.55
(-0.57)
Top 40
50531.15
(-0.73)
Financial 15
10310.91
(+1.70)
Industrial 25
74240.19
(-0.45)
Resource 10
53468.80
(-1.80)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo