Monday 19 December 2011

From domestication to Global Warming: the Early Rice Project in Archaeology International

2012 is the 75th anniversary of the founding of the London Institute of Archaeology (which is now part of UCL), and semi-popular journal Archaeology International has just launched a bumper double in honour of this. This also marks a reformatting of the journal and launch of an on-line edition, which is fully open access. In addition back issues are now available digitally for free, the three most recent are on-line already, and other should follow. This issue includes retrospectives from former students who have gone on to other lines of work and fame, retrospectives on past members of staff (e.g. the recently deceased John Evans), an introduction to our new satellite campus in Qatar, as well as article reporting on a small selection of research projects, from Neolithic Catal Hoyuk to Anglo-Saxon political landscapes, from the 14th century capital of Mali (Sorotomo) to early silverworking in the Andes. It also includes a summary of my Earl Rice Project (Fuller and Alison Weisskopf) including an up to date summary of rice domestication evidence from China, and our phytolith assemblage approach to reconstructing rice cultivation systems, which Alison in pioneering.

Here is our abstract: 
The Early Rice Project, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, is clarifying the origins of Asian rice agriculture. In the Lower Yangtze region of China, we have found the tipping point when domesticated forms first outnumber wild types c.4600 BC. Investigations of assorted weed flora are also revealing how the cultivation of rice changed over time, with early cultivation in small, irregular, dug-out paddy fields in the Lower Yangtze from c.4000 BC, providing a means for the careful control of water conditions. We also work on early rice cultivation in Thailand and India. By better characterising how rice was cultivated across its entire range, we aim to model the ancient output of atmospheric methane from wet rice fields, as this was a potential contributor to the long story of human-caused global warming

The article and PDF are open access: here

No comments: