New radiocarbon and archaeobotanical evidence reveal the timing and route of southward dispersal of rice farming in south China

Xiaoyan Yang*, Qiuhe Chen, Yongchao Ma, Zhao Li, Hsiao chun Hung, Qianglu Zhang, Zhiwei Jin, Suoqiang Liu, Zhenyu Zhou, Xianguo Fu

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The origins and spreads of rice agriculture have been enduring topics, yet the timing and southward dispersal from the Yangtze River Basin have been difficult to trace, due to the scarcity of archaeobotanical data, especially systematic macro-plant remains examination, combined with the poor preservation in the humid climate and acidic soils of China's southern provinces. Here, we report new radiocarbon dating and preserved rice phytolith evidence, derived from three Late Neolithic archaeological sites in south China, dated about 5,000–4,100 cal a BP. Our results demonstrate that rice farming had spread southward through the mountainous regions of Wuyi and Nanling, then entered the areas of Western Fujian and North Guangdong by 5,000 cal a BP, followed by continued expansion into coastal areas of East China Sea and South China Sea, also crossing the Taiwan Strait, around 4,500–4,000 cal a BP. The North River, East River, Min River, and possibly other river systems likely were influential as pathways or conduits.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1495-1501
    Number of pages7
    JournalScience Bulletin
    Volume63
    Issue number22
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2018

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