Possible Evidence of Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages Based on Conventional LSC and AMS 14C Dating of Associated Charcoal and a Carbonized Seed of Custard Apple (Annona squamosa L.)

Anil Kumar Pokharia, B Sekar, Jagannath Pal, Alka Srivastava
2009 Radiocarbon: An International Journal of Cosmogenic Isotope Research  
An attempt was made to trace the antiquity of custard apple in India on the basis of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and liquid scintillation counting (LSC) radiocarbon dates. Recently, seed remains of custard apple (Annona squamosaL.) in association with wood charcoals were encountered from the Neolithic archaeological site of Tokwa at the confluence of the Belan and Adwa rivers, Mirzapur District, in the Vidhyan Plateau region of north-central India. The wood charcoal sample was dated at
more » ... he14C laboratory of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany (BSIP), Lucknow, by conventional LSC14C dating. The sample dated to 1740 cal BC (BS-2054). A seed sample of custard apple was dated by AMS at the Institute of Physics14C laboratory, Bhubaneswar, India (3MV tandem Pelletron accelerator). Interestingly, the AMS date was given as 1520 cal BC (IOPAMS-10), showing a reasonable agreement with the LSC date carried out at BSIP. On botanical grounds, the custard apple is native to South America and the West Indies and was supposed to have been introduced in India by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The present14C dates of the samples pushes back the antiquity of custard apple on Indian soil to the 2nd millennium BC, favoring a group of specialists proposing diverse arguments for Asian-American transoceanic contacts before the discovery of America by Columbus in AD 1492.
doi:10.1017/s0033822200033993 fatcat:urosoakhp5d4fbha3nzn45baj4