Jianping Zhang (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 9825, Beijing 100029, China and Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China; Houyuan Lu, Naiqin Wu and Fengjiang Li, Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 9825, Beijing 100029, China; Xiaoyan Yang, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China; Weilin Wang and Mingzhi Ma, Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Xi'an 710001, China; Xiaohu Zhang, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Phytolith evidence for rice cultivation and spread in Mid-Late Neolithic archaeological sites in central North China
Article first published online: 8 MAR 2010
© 2010 The Authors, Journal compilation © 2010 The Boreas Collegium
Volume 39, Issue 3, pages 592–602, July 2010
How to Cite
ZHANG, J., LU, H., WU, N., LI, F., YANG, X., WANG, W., MA, M. and ZHANG, X. (2010), Phytolith evidence for rice cultivation and spread in Mid-Late Neolithic archaeological sites in central North China. Boreas, 39: 592–602. doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2010.00145.x
- Issue published online: 17 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 8 MAR 2010
- received 21st March 2009, accepted 19th December 2009.
Zhang, J., Lu, H., Wu, N., Li, F., Yang, X., Wang, W., Ma, M. & Zhang, X. 2010: Phytolith evidence for rice cultivation and spread in Mid-Late Neolithic archaeological sites in central North China. Boreas, Vol. 39, pp. 592–602. 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2010.00145.x. ISSN 0300-9483.
The history of rice (Oryza sativa) cultivation in North China is ambiguous owing to a lack of evidence from rice remains with precise ages in archaeological sites. In this paper, we present rice phytolith evidence from six archaeological sites in the Guanzhong Basin, central North China, dating from c. 5500 to 2100 cal. a BP (calibrated/calendar ages) based on 19 AMS-dates. The phytoliths found in the three archaeological sites located on the second river terrace (Quanhu, Yangguanzhai and Anban) include three types of phytoliths from rice, namely bulliform, parallel-bilobe and double-peaked. These findings suggest that the earliest cultivated rice in central North China occurred not later than c. 5690 cal. a BP. After c. 5500 cal. a BP, the farming pattern in the Guanzhong Basin was characterized by dominant dry crops (e.g. millets) and locally cultivated rice. A likely spread route of rice from the lower reaches of the Huanghe (Yellow) River towards the Guanzhong Basin in central North China is speculated to have happened at c. 5690 cal. a BP. The findings of this study help us to understand the farming pattern in the area and how rice spread across the semi-arid regions of East Asia.