More than 50 localities in the Shizitan site group give evidence of food collecting and processing activities that continued in the region from about 25,000–9000 cal BP. As the researchers conclude, “The intensive exploitation of Paniceae grasses and tubers for more than 10 millennia before the Neolithic would have helped people to develop necessary knowledge about the properties of those plants, which eventually led to millet’s domestication
and medicinal uses of tubers” ( Liu et al., 2013, p. 385). By about 8000 cal BP, domesticated C59 millets were being grown widely in northern China, from Dadiwan in the western Loess Plateau to Xinglonggou in Northeast China ( Liu and Chen, 2012). As millet and grain dryland cultivation
had its early beginnings in China’s higher and dryer northern zone along the Yellow River, so rice cultivation had its early beginnings in the wetland settings of southern China along the Yangzi River, well before the emergence of domesticated rice (Oryza sativa) ( Crawford and Shen, 1998). The first big discoveries pertaining to rice cultivation were dated to about 7000 cal BP at Hemudu, south of the Yangzi River mouth and Hangzhou Bay near modern Shanghai, and many other important locations now fill out the developmental picture. At Hemudu, waterlogged soils along the edge of an old lake preserved the remains of substantial wooden houses supported on pilings, amid which were found dense layers of wetland rice stalks and seeds along with great quantities of potsherds and wooden artifacts. Variation among the botanical specimens suggests the people of Hemudu may have been both collecting CHIR-99021 clinical trial wild rice and farming an increasingly domesticated variety. Such evidence, along with the remains of water
buffalo, pig, waterfowl, fishes, and shells of mollusks, documents a village economy in transition between broad-spectrum hunting/collecting and the domestication of rice and farmyard animals ( Liu and Chen, 2012). G protein-coupled receptor kinase The advent of fully domesticated rice cultivation was a prolonged process, which involved active modification of wetland ecology from 10,000 to 4000 cal BP (Crawford, 2011a, Liu et al., 2007 and Zhao, 2011). Close analysis of plant remains from Kuahuqiao (7700 cal BP), not far from Hemudu in a wetland at the head of Hangzhou Bay, gives evidence for gathering practices that would have been conducive to rice domestication. Early occupation of Kuqhuqiao may suggest the pre-domestication cultivation of wild rice (Fuller et al., 2007). At Kuahuqiao the investigators identified pollen, spores, and micro-charcoal remains indicating that early people had opened up an area of scrub vegetation and, thereafter, sustained a wet grassland habitat suitable for aquatic perennial wild rice (Oryza rufipogon) by periodic burning. This rudimentary “rice paddy” was in use until it was flooded by a marine event about 7550 cal BP.