Kuk Swamp

Kuk Swamp is an archaeological site near Mt Hagen in Western Highlands Province. Excavation has uncovered a complex series of drainage ditches, the earliest of which appear to date back to some 9,000 years ago. No remains of food crops have been recovered from early levels at the site. It is believed, nevertheless, that even the earliest drainage ditches were associated with the growing of food plants. This, if true, means that plant domestication and horticulture developed in the highlands of New Guinea at roughly the same time as it did in Southeastern or Western Asia and possibly earlier. In other words, the highlanders of New Guinea were among the earliest, perhaps the very earliest gardeners in the world.

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