Thursday, 25 June 2009

Recent commentaries: the surge of archaeobotany

These have been a busy few months for the archaeobotany of domestication, or at least those keeping up with reading new publications. (The hard work producing the data was no doubt also busily spread out over the past few years). Since December we have seen new data on early foods in Peru, Maize in Mexico, North American crops, new thoughts on the wild food use at the start of Near Eastern domestication (Willcox et al., in The Holocene [or GCW's site]), new early evidence for Panicum miliaceum cultivation in Gansu, and then even earlier dates in central China at Cishan, and the evidence on the evoution of domesticated rice from Tianluoshan. Well-preserved granaries (the oldest) from the PPNA of Jordan when cereals were still morphologically wild but probably cultivated, have also been noted (blog here). The vast majority of these studies appeared in big impact journals (PNAS, Science), and these have of course, attracted some wisened commentaries. Here are some links to those commentaries but (without any particular further comments on them).

T. Douglas Price, commenting on Smith & Yarnell, in PNAS 106 (16): 6427-6428

Gary Crawford, commenting on Lu et al , in PNAS 106 (18): 7271-7272

Martin Jones & X. Liu in Science (8 May 2009), commenting on Tianluoshan, and early Chinese millets.


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