There is no recorded maize (Zea mays spp. mays) from sites predating circa cal AD 800 in the northern Lake Michigan or Lake Superior basins of the western Great Lakes, despite the presence of maize microbotanicals including phytoliths and starches in Michigan, New York, and Quebec as early as 400 cal BC. To evaluate the potential for an earlier maize presence in the northern Lake Michigan basin, samples of carbonized food residues adhering to 16 ceramic vessels were obtained from the Winter site (20DE17) located on the Garden Peninsula in the northern Lake Michigan basin. Each sample was split and sent to two analysts. Both analysts identified low incidences of maize starch and phytoliths in multiple samples, with overlapping identifications on several. Three direct accelerator mass spectrometry dates on the carbonized residues reveal maize incorporated into the residues as early as the second century cal BC, 800 years before any regional macrobotanical evidence. Although the method of dispersal cannot be determined, these results support the proposition that initial northern dispersal of maize in the region may have been nearly 800 years earlier than macrobotanical evidence would suggest and is consistent with the timing of its introduction to the lower Great Lakes area.