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Bananas: The Spread of a Tropical Forest Fruit as an Agricultural Staple

Castillo, Cristina; Fuller, Dorian; (2015) Bananas: The Spread of a Tropical Forest Fruit as an Agricultural Staple. In: Lee-Thorp, J and Katzenberg, M, (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Diet. Oxford University Press: Oxford, United Kingdom. Green open access

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Abstract

The banana (Musa) is one of the world’s most important crops and the most valuable fruit in the global market. In the search for varieties that are more pest- and disease-resistant plant breeders are increasingly looking to the wild progenitors,—as understanding its evolution is key to genetic improvement. The banana was also an important economic crop in prehistory although it is difficult to track its history of domestication and evolution due to preservation issues, the lack of reliable species identification criteria and limited archaeological evidence. Just two archaeobotanical studies of macro-remains and phytoliths, in New Guinea and Cameroon, have provided reliable identifications and interpretations to help our understanding of the origins and evolution of the banana. But to track the spread and growing importance of this plant in the diet, across the tropics and through time, we need to combine information drawn from botany, genetics, linguistics and archaeology.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Bananas: The Spread of a Tropical Forest Fruit as an Agricultural Staple
ISBN-13: 9780199694013
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199694013.013.7
Publisher version: http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxford...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1503593
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