Saturday, September 29, 2007

Rice in China, 7700 years ago

History never stays the same.

A couple of years ago, scientists and archaeologists were quite certain that people began cultivating rice in China at a certain date . . . but new discoveries have pushed that date back to 5700 B.C. (7700 years ago).

Turns out the sediments 9 to 12 feet deep, at the mouth of the Yangtze reveal that folks were building dams, burning fields to clear them, and flooding rice paddies. They may have been doing it long before the date mentioned, but by that time, the scientists say, those farmers had driven out other, older, trees and vegetation and were planting rice and cattails.

Cattails? Yuck.

The site is called Kuahuqiao, and the report is in Nature. This picture is of Kuahuqiao in 2001. Here's a transcription of a podcast, and an article in the Los Angeles Times.

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