Ancient Maize Map

What is Ancient Maize Map?

This website is an interactive online database for gathering information about ancient maize samples that have been discovered in archaeological sites and other contexts throughout the Americas. One of the main goals of the site is to allow you, whether you are a casual visitor or an active maize researcher, to create maps showing the chronological distribution of maize data. These maps can be generated and viewed online using Google Maps and Google Earth. Another of our aims is to allow you to download data from our database and/or to contribute your own data by contacting us to let us know about new samples or about samples we may have missed. We are seeking feedback and encourage contributions.

Getting Started

You can begin by exploring the vast amount of maize data by country, by site, by individual sample or simply by mapping. Visualize the spread of domesticated maize from its homeland in western Mexico north as far as Canada and south to Chile and Argentina using the Maps page. You can create Google map overlays of the data that match your specific search criteria by selecting a geographic area and dragging a grey box over the map (“Area Selector Button”), or by selecting from the right column the types of samples, sites, and dating method you want to display. On the map page click “Generate Overlay” and the samples in your search will produce a map overlay that will appear on the Google Earth screen. Click on individual sites in the map and basic information about the site, the sample, and its age will appear on the screen. Slide the “Overlay Opacity” slider bar to the left and the overlay will become transparent, allowing you to zoom into the approximate site location and see the general setting in 3D on Google Earth.

A Note on Site Location Accuracy

Viewers who are familiar with the exact locations of particular and/or well-known sites may be surprised to see a site's location at some distance from where it ought to be. At the suggestion of archaeologists in several countries, we have "generalized" all site locations to within approximately 2.5 km of their actual coordinates. This has been done for the public view of the database in order to protect sites that may be vulnerable to looting and other unauthorized access, whether on public or private land. Please feel free to contact us if you spot a discrepancy or problem with any of the site locations in the database.

Explore the Database

The database can be directly explored, examined, and exported in a number of ways. All samples have been organized into groups based on the method used to date the maize material (either directly dated or indirectly dated) and the type of maize material studied and dated (either macro-botanical or micro-botanical). In turn, Sites have been grouped into geographical areas that can be explored on the Locations page. Export your selected maize data as an Excel spreadsheet from any of the main pages. Read more about our project on the About page. Note: The spatial coordinates of sites are not included in the public view of the database, nor are they downloadable. For coordinate information please contact us.

Most recent update: January 25, 2015