Sweet Potatoes Traveled Far, Early

January 31, 2013

Sweet potatoes most likely were carried to Polynesia well before the Spanish took the native Andean crop with them on voyages. According to Science Magazine, " a new study suggests that the (sweet potato's) genetics may be the key to unraveling another great age of exploration, one that predated European expansion by several hundred years and remains an anthropological enigma... The oldest carbonized sample of the crop found by archaeologists in the Pacific dates to about 1000 C.E.—nearly 500 years before Columbus's first voyage. What's more, the word for "sweet potato" in many Polynesian languages closely resembles the Quechua word for the plant."



Comment