Appreciating Pre-Columbian agricultural practices in the Americans


Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
I was watching this video on the canals near Tiwanaku. Long story short, the canals, which were much too elaborate to be simple irrigation, where demonstrated to be designed to trap heat, so that productive agriculture could be done at 14,000 ft.

Got me thinking about all the other truly remarkable agricultural practices in the pre-Columbian world.

Mexican Chinampas. Essentially hydroponic gardens built with straw and mud on lakes. They could be farmed a remarkable seven times a year. Tenochtitlan was fed with chinampas. This system fed two-million!

Tierra Preta, which the natives used to turn the nutrient-leeched soil of the Amazon fertile. Can create an 880% increase in yield!

The grand aqueducts and irrigation of Peru, built by the Moche to supply a truly extraordianry civiliation in one of the driest deserts in the world:

Aqueduct built by the Nazca culture

Moray, Peru. I actually have been here. One theory on the place is that the terracing allowed the Peruvians to plant crops from different altitudes in the same place.

Peru, Moray archaeological site (Inca ruin)

Mayan cenotes and reservoirs (used for irrigation).

The Amazing Water Management of the Ancient Mayans

And on, and on. Last word: about half the world is now fed on corn and potatoes, which started out in Mexico as an innutritious grass, and in Peru as a poison tuber, respectively.
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