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Harvesting and processing wild cereals in the Upper Palaeolithic Yellow River Valley, China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 June 2018

Li Liu*
Affiliation:
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University, Knight Building, 521 Memorial Way, Stanford, CA 94305, USA Stanford Archaeology Center, Stanford University, Building 500, 488 Escondido Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA Henan University, 85 Minglun Street, Shunhe Huizuqu, Kaifeng 475001, China
Maureece J. Levin
Affiliation:
Stanford Archaeology Center, Stanford University, Building 500, 488 Escondido Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Michael F. Bonomo
Affiliation:
Department of Geological Sciences, Stanford University, Building 320, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Jiajing Wang
Affiliation:
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University, Knight Building, 521 Memorial Way, Stanford, CA 94305, USA Stanford Archaeology Center, Stanford University, Building 500, 488 Escondido Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Jinming Shi
Affiliation:
Shanxi Museum, 13 Binhe W Road, Wanbailin Qu, Taiyuan 030024, China
Xingcan Chen
Affiliation:
Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 27 Wangfujing Dajie, Beijing 100710, China
Jiayi Han
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
Yanhua Song*
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
*
*Authors for correspondence (Email: liliu@stanford.edu; songyanhuahan@163.com)
*Authors for correspondence (Email: liliu@stanford.edu; songyanhuahan@163.com)

Abstract

Northern China has been identified as an independent centre of domestication for various types of millet and other plant species, but tracing the earliest evidence for the exploitation of wild cereals and thus the actual domestication process has proven challenging. Evidence from microscopic analyses of stone tools, including use-wear, starch and phytolith analyses, however, show that in the Shizitan region of north China, various plants have been exploited as far back as 28000 years ago, and wild millets have been harvested and processed by the time of the Last Glacial Maximum, 24000 years ago. This is some 18000–14000 years before the earliest evidence for domesticated millet in this region.

Type
Research
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2018 

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