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Earliest direct evidence for broomcorn millet and wheat in the central Eurasian steppe region

  • Michael D. Frachetti (a1), Robert N. Spengler (a1), Gayle J. Fritz (a1) and Alexei N. Mar'yashev (a2)

Abstract

Before 3000 BC, societies of western Asia were cultivating wheat and societies of China were cultivating broomcorn millet; these are early nodes of the world's agriculture. The authors are searching for early cereals in the vast lands that separate the two, and report a breakthrough at Begash in south-east Kazakhstan. Here, high precision recovery and dating have revealed the presence of both wheat and millet in the later third millennium BC. Moreover the context, a cremation burial, raises the suggestion that these grains might signal a ritual rather than a subsistence commodity.

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