Early millet use in northern China

Yang, X. and Wang, Z. and Perry, L. and et al, . (2012) Early millet use in northern China. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. pp. 1-5.

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It is generally understood that foxtail millet and broomcorn millet were initially domesticated in Northern China where they eventually became the dominant plant food crops. The rarity of older archaeological sites and archaeobotanical work in the region, however, renders both the origins of these plants and their processes of domestication poorly understood. Here we present ancient starch grain assemblages recovered from cultural deposits, including carbonized residues adhering to an early pottery sherd as well as grinding stone tools excavated from the sites of Nanzhuangtou (11.5–11.0 cal kyBP) and Donghulin (11.0–9.5 cal kyBP) in the North China Plain. Our data extend the record of millet use in China by nearly 1,000 y, and the record of foxtail millet in the region by at least two millennia. The patterning of starch residues within the samples allow for the formulation of the hypothesis that foxtail millets were cultivated for an extended period of two millennia, during which this crop plant appears to have been undergoing domestication. Future research in the region will help clarify the processes in place.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The authors thank Prof. D. R. Piperno and others in the lab for their helpful advice. Comparative plant material was provided by Xianmin Diao, Changjiang Liu, and Melinda Peters. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Strategic Priority Research Program Grant XDA05130603, China Global Change Research Program Grant 2010CB950100, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China Grants 40771205 and 41072140. The Archaeobiology Laboratory at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History provided financial support for research on millet domestication in 2007–2008 (X.Y.).
Uncontrolled Keywords: starch grain analysis | agriculture origins | early Neolithic | millet domestication | East Asia
Author Affiliation: aInstitute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China........
Subjects: Plant Production
Divisions: Millet
Depositing User: Mr. SanatKumar Behera
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2012 10:37
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2012 10:37
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1115430109
URI: http://eprints.icrisat.ac.in/id/eprint/3932

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