History of Gourds Around the World
History of Gourds in North America
Domesticated bottle gourds believed to have been brought to the Americas from Asia
Research by a team of anthropologists and biologists suggests that the domesticated bottle gourds widely used by prehistoric peoples were likely brought to the Americas some 10,000 years ago from Asia. Since bottle gourds are thought to have originated in Africa, the previously held theory was that the gourds had floated across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa and were picked up and used as containers once they reached the Americas. Genetic comparisons showed that the gourds found at archaeological sites in the Americas were a closer genetic match to modern-day gourds in Asia. The current research suggests that these bottle gourds may have been brought in boats from Asia, hand-carried across a land bridge, or floated across the Bering Strait.
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Or, go to: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/102/51/18315
A Little History of Gourd Societies in the United States
In 1937 the "Gourd Society of America" was founded by Mr. Sterling Pool of Rockport, Massachusetts. In 1970 the society was moved to Ohio and renamed The American Gourd Society. Today, AGS has over 4,000 members and acts as the unifying body for 10 state chapters. States chapters are chartered in California, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. North Carolina was the first chartered Chapter, while the California Chapter was chartered in 1997 and is already one of the largest Chapters in the Society.
Saving the Bottle Gourd in Kenya
The Gourd Museum in Kitui district, eastern Kenya is an unlikely looking genebank. Five years ago, this small, tin-roofed building in the village of Kyanika was a disused shed; now it houses the most important collection of gourd germplasm in Africa, and probably the world. A project of the Kyanika Adult Women's Group, in partnership with two national organizations* and the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), the museum is part gene bank, part training and education center, and home to a substantial library of gourd related information. But to the average visitor, it is the gourds themselves that are most remarkable.
Want to read more?...Check out these files:
- The Gourd: The Most Important Plant in All of Human History, Raymond Konan
- The Gourd Mound, Mark Thompson