Institute of Archaeology

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First for Archaeology in UK 2015

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Interdisciplinary perspectives on rice

15 April 2013

A Comparative Perspective on Two Styles of Agricultural Evolution in China

Dorian Fuller has been invited to present his ground-breaking research on the evolution of early rice agriculture in a series of lectures in the US and Guatemala.

Dorian presented results of his research on 'The Archaeobotany of Rice: From Domestication to Global Warming' as part of the RiziCulture Rice Research Program at Arkansas State University on 10 April and also at the Dale Bumpers Rice Research Center of the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Stuttgart, Arkansas on 12 April.

Dorian's lecture summarized recent archaeobotanical research in India and China, as well as modern analogues studies of wild and cultivated rice, which have provided new insights into the early development of Asian rice cultivation. His presentation  included new data on the morphological changes that define rice domestication in China, evidence for a non-domestication pathway for early management of rice in India, and the diversification of cultivation systems, including from dry to wet in India, for small-scale wet to intensive in the Yangtze and from wet to dry in the early rice of South China and Southeast Asia.

Dorian's research also attempts to use the current archaeobotanical record for rice to test the Early Anthropogenic Greenhouse gas hypothesis that proposed that the spread of wet rice cultivation contributed to increasing global methane levels over the past 5000 years.

Dorian will also present joint research undertaken by Ling Qin and himself entitled "Expansive adopters vs. entrenched rice growers: A Comparative Perspective on Two Styles of Agricultural Evolution in China" at the National Geographic "Dialogue of Civilizations" conference in Guatemala City from 15-17 April. 

The conference will focus on the five oldest civilizations of mankind - Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Indus Valley (India and Pakistan); Chinese and Mayan -  with presentations by experts in each, and is intended to create a forum to discuss the origins, dynamics and contributions of these civilizations to society and culture, exploring how the past can serve as a guide to contemporary societies fostering a global forum for permanent historical discussion.

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Dorian received NERC funding in 2009 for research on ‘The Identification of Rice in Prehistory’ (2009-2012). He has recently received another major NERC award for the continuation of his research on the evolution of early rice agriculture. Read more»