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Faculty Publication: Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology Justin Reamer

May 24, 2024

Evidence for the Eastern Agricultural Complex Crops in the Upper Delaware Valley: Botanical Analysis from the Manna Site (36Pi4)

Author: Justin M. Reamer

Source: American Antiquity, DOI: 10.1017/aaq.2024.19, May 2024

Publication: Article

Abstract: From the Archaic period onward, Indigenous populations across the Eastern Woodlands cultivated a suite of crops known to archaeologists as the Eastern Agricultural Complex. However, aside from squash (Cucurbita pepo) and sunflower (Helianthus annuus), little evidence exists for the cultivation of these plants in the northeastern Algonquian homeland. Botanical analysis from the Manna site (36Pi4), located in the Upper Delaware Valley, provides evidence for the cultivation of the full suite of Eastern Agricultural Complex crops. Flotation samples analyzed from Manna provide the first evidence for possible Lenape cultivation of chenopodium (Chenopodium berlandieri), squash, sunflower, and marshelder (Iva annua) from contexts dating to AD 0–1650 (Middle and Late Woodland) at Manna. Lenape cultivation of these crops complicates the traditional view of Indigenous agricultural systems in northeastern North America and raises questions about when and how these species were introduced to the region.