chapter  10
17 Pages

Opening discursive space

New Guinea’s contribution to the history of early agriculture
WithTim Denham

The highlands of New Guinea have some of the oldest archaeological evidence for cultivation practices in the world, dating back to at least 7000–6400 years ago. Formerly, the long-term agronomic history for the highlands was marginal to debates concerning early agriculture globally. Recently, several conceptual advances arising from the New Guinea research have begun to increasing inform researchers in other regions, including: the comparable significance of vegecultural to sexually reproduced crops for a balanced understanding of agricultural history; the distinctive multilinear and decentred character of plant domestication under vegeculture; the ontological priority of former cultivation practices, with respect to archaeobotanical evidence for plant domestication, in determining early agriculture; and the different ways agricultural chronologies can be used to measure the past and be projected against diverse socio-historical horizons.