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The Diversity of Botanical Food of the Hemudu People: Evidence from an Examination of Food Residues in a Fu pot

Author(s): Wei Ge ; Weijin Huang

Year: 2015

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Carbonized black debris was found in many fu pots recovered from an early stratum at the Hemudu site (c. 7000–6500 cal. BP). The debris resembles food residues. Although this kind of debris has been regarded as residues of cooked rice for a long time, so far no specific research has been conducted. To clarify the nature of these residues, we carried out a microscopic morphological analysis and stable isotope analysis on one of the specimens. The morphological analysis found starch granules of a variety of plant tissues, including seeds of the genus rice (Oryza sp.), the bulb of the genus lily (Lilium sp.), seeds of Quercus variabilis, seeds of Vigna sp. and the tribe of Triticeae. Stable isotope analysis shows that the residue was mainly composed of C3 plants, without or with very little animal material. These results prove that the residues in the fu pots of Hemudu were really food remains, but not purely made from rice. This study reveals the diversity of botanical food of Hemudu people and also provides new clues regarding the function of fu pots as cooking vessels.

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The Diversity of Botanical Food of the Hemudu People: Evidence from an Examination of Food Residues in a Fu pot. Wei Ge, Weijin Huang. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397041)


Hemudu residues Starch

Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America