, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 260-265

A Contribution to the Prehistory of Domesticated Bottle Gourds in Asia: Rind Measurements from Jomon Japan and Neolithic Zhejiang, China1

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Introduction

Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standley, the bottle gourd, has been of considerable archaeological interest in both hemispheres, as it is the only cultivated plant species that is unambiguously present in both Early Holocene America and Asia. This is true despite the evidence that true wild bottle gourds, like their congeneric relatives, are restricted to southern Africa (Decker-Walters et al. 2004). Finds from the Windover site in Florida were the first to be directly dated to 7290 B.P./ca. 6200–6100 B.C.E. (Doran et al. 1990), and since then bottle gourd seeds and rind fragments from several other sites have been directly dated (Erickson et al. 2005). Recent genetic studies, including ancient DNA from prehistoric American gourds, suggest that bottle gourds of the New World represent a subset of genetic variation derived from bottle gourds in Eastern Asia (Erickson et al. 2005). Early Holocene archaeological finds in both Mesoamerica and North America imply that this species