Zoom lecture to focus on domestication of the Four Corners potato


By Jill Tripp
San Juan Basin Archaeological Society

The San Juan Basin Archaeological Society will present a virtual lecture via Zoom on Aug. 19 at 2:30 p.m. Lisbeth Louderback and Bruce Pavlik will present “Detecting Domestication of the Four Corners Potato.”

The common potato was domesticated over 7,000 years ago in the high Andes and is now the third most important crop in the world, comprising over 4,500 varieties. 

Although domestication has occurred and been studied in hundreds of species, only a few plants native to North America were ever domesticated and none of those are from west of the Mississippi. 

Recent evidence, however, suggests that a novel potato species, known as the Four Corners potato, was manipulated by ancient people sometime during the last 12,000 years. The tubers might have been an important food and energy source because of their nutritional qualities, reliable productivity and ability to persist in the soil. Furthermore, populations of this species now occupy atypical habitats among and within the great pueblos of the southwest, evidence that indigenous farming practices included this species. 

Louderback is currently the curator of Archaeology at the Natural History Museum of Utah and assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Utah. Her most recent research has focused on the ecology of human diets during the Holocene at North Creek Shelter in southern Utah. 

Pavlik is currently the director of conservation at Red Butte Garden and Arboretum at the University of Utah. His research has focused on the ecology and physiology of plants native to western North America.

To join the Zoom meeting use the following: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85780706701?pwd=NlJxbUx3L09BU1Y0NCs0WTN1T0lmUT09, meeting ID: 857 8070 6701, passcode: 578820.

See sjbas.org for more information.