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

  • Li Liu (a1) (a2) (a3), Maureece J. Levin (a2), Michael F. Bonomo (a4), Jiajing Wang (a1) (a2), Jinming Shi (a5), Xingcan Chen (a6), Jiayi Han (a7) and Yanhua Song (a7)...

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.

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