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Topic Summary

Posted by: Guess
« on: November 27, 2020, 05:00:30 PM »

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/rice/history-rice/debating-origins-rice

what do you think: china or india?

Archaeologists and botanists have long debated the origins of rice. For many archaeologists who focus on East Asia or Southeast Asia, it has long appeared that rice agriculture began in South-central China, somewhere along the Yangzte river, and spread from there southwards and to northeast towards Korea and Japan. However, archaeologists working in India have argued that their evidence suggests an origin of rice cultivation in the Ganges river valley, by peoples unconnected to those of the Yangzte.  [the map at right summarized rice origins as part of Fuller's 2012 paper in the journal rice]

For both regions there are current controversies about how early rice was cultivated, and how best to identify when rice was domesticated as opposed to being gathered wild. For example, recently in India rice grains and early pottery found at the site of Lahuradewa in Uttar Pradesh dating to ca. 6500 BC, have been suggested to indicate very early rice cultivation about 4000 years earlier than has often been assumed for this region. However, other scholars contend that these early rice finds may have been collected from wild stands and further evidence is needed to prove cultivation or domestication. Similarly, in Chinese archaeology it has been assumed that early rice finds of ca. 7000 BC were cultivated, but previous methods of sample analysis did not establish evidence either for cultivation behaviours or for the physical domestication traits in rice. For example most studies on early rice in China have been based on recovered archaeological grains, which may not be the most informative on whether or a not a plant is domesticated.

A recent reassessment suggests that rice grains, especially from Lower Yangzte show a progressive increase in size over time between 6000 BC and 3500 BC, and that this size increase suggests a domestication process. The same period sees increase in size of rice fan-shaped phytoliths (microscope silica that forms in the rice leaves) which might indicate the same process. If so, then earlier finds at 6000 BC or 7000 BC, of small rice grains may be from wild rather than domesticated rice. Others have rebutted, however, that such small grains are also found in much later periods in more northerly regions, like the Yellow River valley (at 3000-2500 BC) and Korea (after 1000 BC), which archaeologists accept as agricultural and therefore small rice grains could be domesticated.

The extent to which interregional variation was at work in the past, since in modern rice more northerly temperate varieties often have smaller grains, is unknown. Nevertheless, this debate clearly calls into question the usefulness of rice grain measurements by themselves for inferring whether ri

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