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Phytoliths and rice: from wet to dry and back again in the Neolithic Lower Yangtze

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 October 2015

Alison Weisskopf
Affiliation:
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK (Email: d.fuller@ucl.ac.uk)
Ling Qin
Affiliation:
School of Archaeology and Museology, Peking University, 5 Yiheyuan Road, Beijing 100871, China
Jinglong Ding
Affiliation:
Suzhou Research Institute of Archaeology, Suzhou, Jiangsu, 215005, China
Pin Ding
Affiliation:
Zhejiang Province Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310014, China
Guoping Sun
Affiliation:
Zhejiang Province Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310014, China
Dorian Q Fuller
Affiliation:
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK (Email: d.fuller@ucl.ac.uk)

Abstract

The cultivation of rice has had a major impact on both societies and their environments in Asia, and in China in particular. Phytolith assemblages from three Neolithic sites in the Lower Yangtze valley reveal that in early rice fields the emphasis was on drainage to limit the amount of water and force the rice to produce seed. It was only in the later third millennium BC that the strategy changed and irrigated paddies came into use. The results demonstrate that plant remains, including weed assemblages, can reveal wetter or drier growing conditions, showing changes in rice cultivation from flooded and drained fields to large, intensively irrigated paddies.

Type
Research
Information
Antiquity , Volume 89 , Issue 347 , October 2015 , pp. 1051 - 1063
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2015 

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