Exploring the multiple pathways towards agriculture within China, the case for rice and millets.
Author(s): Chris Stevens
Studies of evolutionary change within selected traits for rice indicate a period of interaction from the cultivation of morphologically wild plants (Oryza rufipogon) to the eventual farming of domesticated rice (Oryza sativa ssp. japonica) that lasted around 3000 years. The shift from the collecting of wild foods to dependence on cultivation was equally protracted. While rice was likely taken into cultivation in a number of areas across China it is only in the Lower Yangtze between 6000 to 3000 cal. BC that the full transition from early cultigens to fully domesticated plants is so far evidenced. The pathways towards the domestication of millets (Panicum miliaceum and Setaria italica) are far less clear. Their probable cultivation is attested from a number of sites, possibly as early as 7000 cal. BC, within northern China, based upon finds of charred grains, isotope evidence and agricultural tools. Unlike rice however the start of cultivation and the end of domestication period are as yet unknown. This paper presents comparative models for rice and millet, which explore the morphological changes seen within these plants resulting from human selection and how such changes in themselves modified human behaviour.
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Exploring the multiple pathways towards agriculture within China, the case for rice and millets.. Chris Stevens. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395661)
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