Papua New Guinea's 10,000-year farm legacy harvests UN nod

Other News Materials 8 July 2008 03:00 (UTC +04:00)

Papua New Guinea's farm legacy, thought to date back 7,000 to 10,000 years, gained world notice Monday from UNESCO, which listed a 116-hectare high altitude swamp as the country's very first World Heritage site, dpa reported.

According to archeological evidence, the people of Papua New Guinea developed sophisticated farming processes independent of the better-known crucibles of agricultural progress of Mesopotamia and Mexico, the UNESCO panel found.

At the Kuk Early Agricultural Site, located 1,500 metres above sea level in New Guinea's southern highlands, archaeological evidence demonstrates the "technological leap which transformed plant exploitation to agriculture around 6,500 years ago," the UNESCO panel meeting in Canada said.

The Kuk landscape showed farmland was reclaimed from wetlands and was worked "almost continuously" for up to 10,000 years, the committee said.

"It is an excellent example of transformation of agricultural practices over time, from cultivation mounds to draining the wetlands through the digging of ditches with wooden tools," the committee said. "Kuk is one of the few places in the world where archaeological evidence suggests independent agricultural development and changes in agricultural practice over such a long period of time."