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First archaeological evidence of banana cultivation in central Africa during the third millennium before present

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Abstract.

Phytoliths recovered from refuse pits excavated in central Cameroon and dated to ca 2500 B.P. have been positively identified for the first time in Africa as derived from Musa the cultivated banana, after a comparative study of Musa and Ensete phytoliths. This discovery provides archaeologists with unequivocal proof of early agriculture in central Africa. Furthermore, the presence of banana in Cameroon much earlier than previously assumed could explain how agriculture spread through the rain forest. Lastly, as Musa is of Asian origin, this study provides the first concrete evidence of contacts across the Indian Ocean a millennium earlier than currently accepted.

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Received July 12, 1999 / Accepted May 4, 2000

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Mbida Mindzie, C., Doutrelepont, H., Vrydaghs, L. et al. First archaeological evidence of banana cultivation in central Africa during the third millennium before present. Veget Hist Archaeobot 10, 1–6 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1007/PL00013367

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/PL00013367

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