Sunday, 4 July 2010

Rice archaeobotany: new journal issue

Archaeological & Anthropological Sciences volume 2(2), is a special issue on the topic of early rice agriculture in Asia. It brings together recent statements about the state of the art of rice archaeology in China, Korea, Thailand, and to a lesser extent Japan and India. It has articles on genetics, including the first published ancient DNA extraction targeting the occluded cell nuclei trapped with phytoliths (although admittedly from a remarkable context of preservation that included visible waterlogged leaves). One accomplishment is getting authors from Japan, China and Korea to publish all in one place in English. It also has a large review on the domestication process and spread of rice (see example of one map above), which comes out of a team effort, mostly here at the Institute in London. So if you want my latest views on early rice then you must read Consilience of genetics and archaeobotany in the entangled history of rice. [pdfThis includes domestication processes, and when they are finished in both India and China, how I think indica and japonica met (and hybridized) for the first time (in northwest India or Pakistan!), and when upland dry rice and paddyfield systems came to various parts of Asia. But for a taster of the volume as a whole it is, of course, worth starting with the short editorial. [pdf]