Rice, Oryza sativa L., is one of the most important cereal crops in the world, and its emergence as a domesticated subsistence plant drives much of the interest and research in archaeology in South and East Asia. The homeland of domesticated rice has been proposed as:
1 a specific area, such as India (Vavilov 1926; Ramiah & Ghose 1951), South China (Ding 1957), Southeast Asia (Spencer 1963) and the Yangtze valley in China (Yan 1982; 1989)
2 a biogeographic region, such as the so-called ‘belt region’ with a great diversity of Oryza species (Chang 1976), or
3 an ecological zone, such as coastal swamp habitats (Higham 1995).