Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Phytoliths and rice: from wet to dry and back again in the Neolithic Lower Yangtze

  • Alison Weisskopf (a1), Ling Qin (a2), Jinglong Ding (a3), Pin Ding (a4), Guoping Sun (a4) and Dorian Q Fuller (a1)...
Abstract

The cultivation of rice has had a major impact on both societies and their environments in Asia, and in China in particular. Phytolith assemblages from three Neolithic sites in the Lower Yangtze valley reveal that in early rice fields the emphasis was on drainage to limit the amount of water and force the rice to produce seed. It was only in the later third millennium BC that the strategy changed and irrigated paddies came into use. The results demonstrate that plant remains, including weed assemblages, can reveal wetter or drier growing conditions, showing changes in rice cultivation from flooded and drained fields to large, intensively irrigated paddies.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Blackman, E. & Parry, D.W.. 1968. Opaline silica deposition in rye (Secale cereale L.). Annals of Botany 32: 199206.
Carnelli, A.L., Madella, M. & Theurillat, J.-P.. 2001. Biogenic silica production in selected alpine plant species and plant communities. Annals of Botany 87: 425–34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/anbo.2000.1355
Charles, M., Hoppé, C., Jones, G., Bogaard, A. & Hodgson, J.G.. 2003. Using weed functional attributes for the identification of irrigation regimes in Jordan. Journal of Archaeological Science 30: 1429–41. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0305-4403(03)00038-4
Epstein, E. 1999. Silicon. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology 50: 641–64. http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.arplant.50.1.641
Fuller, D.Q. 2011. Pathways to Asian civilizations: tracing the origins and spread of rice and rice cultures. Rice 4: 7892. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12284-011-9078-7
Fuller, D.Q. & Qin, L.. 2009. Water management and labour in the origins and dispersal of Asian rice. World Archaeology 41: 88111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00438240802668321
Fuller, D.Q. & Qin, L.. 2010. Declining oaks, increasing artistry, and cultivating rice: the environmental and social context of the emergence of farming in the Lower Yangtze region. Environmental Archaeology 15: 139–59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/146141010X12640787648531
Fuller, D.Q. & Weisskopf, A.R.. 2012. The early rice project: from domestication to global warming. Archaeology International 13/14: 4451.
Fuller, D.Q., Harvey, E. & Qin, L.. 2007. Presumed domestication? Evidence for wild rice cultivation and domestication in the fifth millennium BC of the Lower Yangtze region. Antiquity 81: 316–31. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X0009520X
Fuller, D.Q., Qin, L., Zheng, Y., Zhao, Z., Chen, X., Hosoya, L.A. & Sun, G.. 2009. The domestication process and domestication rate in rice: spikelet bases from the Lower Yangtze. Science 323: 1607–610. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1166605
Fuller, D.Q., van Etten, J., Manning, K., Castillo, C., Kingwell Banham, E., Weisskopf, A., Qin, L., Sato, Y.-I. & Hijmans, R.J.. 2011. The contribution of rice agriculture and livestock pastoralism to prehistoric methane levels: an archaeological assessment. Holocene 21: 743–59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683611398052
Fuller, D.Q., Denham, T., Arroyo-Kalin, M., Lucas, L., Stevens, C.J., Qin, L., Allaby, R. & Purugganan, M.D.. 2014. Convergent evolution and parallelism in plant domestication revealed by an expanding archaeological record. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 111: 6147–52. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1308937110
Gao, Y. 2012. A study of plant remains and the Neolithic subsistence in Taihu Lake Region. Unpublished MA Dissertation, School of Archaeology and Museology, Peking University, Beijing [in Chinese].
Glover, I.C. & Higham, C.F.. 1996. New evidence for early rice cultivation in South, Southeast and East Asia, in Harris, D.R. (ed.) The origins and spread of agriculture and pastoralism in Eurasia: 413–41. London: UCL Press.
Harvey, E. & Fuller, D.Q.. 2005. Investigating crop processing through phytolith analysis: the case of rice and millets. Journal of Archaeological Science 32: 739–52. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2004.12.010
Hodson, M.J. & Evans, D.E.. 1995. Aluminium/silicon interactions in higher plants. Journal of Experimental Botany 46: 161–71. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/46.2.161
Hodson, M.J., White, P.J., Mead, A. & Broadley, M.R.. 2005. Phylogenetic variation in the silicon composition of plants. Annals of Botany 96: 10271046. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mci255
Jenkins, E., Jamjoum, K. & Al Nuimat, S.. 2010. Irrigation and phytolith formation: an experimental study, in Black, E. &. Mithen, S. (ed.) Water, life and civilisation: climate, environment and society in the Jordan Valley: 347–72. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jones, G. 1992. Weed phytosociology and crop husbandry: identifying a contrast between ancient and modern practice. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 73: 133–43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0034-6667(92)90051-H
Madella, M., Jones, M.K., Echlin, P., Powers-Jones, A. & Moore, M.. 2009. Plant water availability and analytical microscopy of phytoliths: implications for ancient irrigation in arid zones. Quaternary International 193: 3240. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2007.06.012
Metcalfe, C.R. 1960. Anatomy of the monocotyledons I. Gramineae. London: Oxford University Press.
Perry, C.C., Mann, S. & Williams, R.J.P.. 1984. Structural and analytical studies of the silicified macrohairs from the lemma of the grass Phalaris canariensis L. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (Series B) 222: 439–55. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.1984.0076
Piperno, D. 1988. Phytolith analysis: an archaeological and geological perspective. San Diego (CA): Academic Press.
Piperno, D. 2006. Phytoliths: a comprehensive guide for archaeologists and paleoecologists. Oxford: Altamira.
Prychid, C. J., Rudall, P.J. & Gregory, M.. 2004. Systematics and biology of silica bodies in monocotyledons. The Botanical Review. 69: 377440. http://dx.doi.org/10.1663/0006-8101(2004)069[0377:SABOSB]2.0.CO;2
Qin, L. 2013. The Liangzhu culture, in Underhill, A. (ed.) A companion to Chinese archaeology: 574–96. Malden (MA): Wiley-Blackwell.
Rosen, A.M. 1999. Phytolith analysis in Near Eastern archaeology, in Pike, S. & Gitin, S. (ed.) The practical impact of science on Aegean and Near Eastern archaeology (Wiener Laboratory Publication 3): 915. London: Archetype.
Ruddiman, W. F. 2013. The anthropocene. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 41: 4568. http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-earth-050212-123944
Ruddiman, W.F., Guo, Z., Zhou, X., Wu, H. & Yu, Y.. 2008. Early rice farming and anomalous methane trends. Quaternary Science Reviews 27: 1291–295. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2008.03.007
Sun, G. 2013. Recent research on the Hemudu culture and the Tianluoshan Site, in Underhill, A. (ed.) A companion to Chinese archaeology: 555–64. Malden (MA): Wiley-Blackwell.
Tsartsidou, G., Lev-Yadun, S., Albert, R.-M., Miller-Rosen, A., Efstratiou, N. & Weiner, S.. 2007. The phytolith archaeological record: strengths and weaknesses evaluated based on a quantitative modern reference collection from Greece. Journal of Archaeological Science 34: 1262–275.
Webb, E.A. & Longstaffe, F.J.. 2002. Climatic influences on the oxygen isotopic composition of biogenic silica in prairie grass. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 66: 1891–904. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0016-7037(02)00822-0
Weisskopf, A.R. 2014. Millets, rice and farmers: phytoliths as indicators of agricultural, social and ecological change in Neolithic and Bronze Age Central China (British Archaeological Reports International series 2589). Oxford: Archaeopress. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2013.04.026
Weisskopf, A., Harvey, E., Kingwell-Banham, E., Kajale, M., Mohanty, R. & Fuller, D.Q.. 2014. Archaeobotanical implications of phytolith assemblages from cultivated rice systems, wild rice stands and macro-regional patterns. Journal of Archaeological Science 51: 4553.
Zheng, Y., Sun, G., Qin, L., Li, C., Wu, X. & Chen, X.. 2009. Rice fields and modes of rice cultivation between 5000 and 2500 BC in east China. Journal of Archaeological Science 36: 2609–16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2009.09.026
Zhuang, Y., Ding, P. & French, C.. 2014. Water management and agricultural intensification of rice farming at the late Neolithic site of Maoshan, Lower Yangtze River, China. Holocene 24: 531–45.
Zou, H., Gu, J., Li, M., Tang, L., Ding, J. & Yao, Q.. 2000. Findings of paddies of Majiabang Culture at Caoxieshan, Jiangsu Province, in Yan, W. & Yasuda, Y. (ed.) The origins of rice agriculture, pottery and cities: 97114. Beijing: Cultural Relics Publishing House (in Chinese).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Weisskopf supplementary material
Table S1

 Word (22 KB)
22 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 12
Total number of PDF views: 127 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 798 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd September 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.