Institute of Archaeology


Secondary crop domestication and use: A case study from Haimenkou, Yunnan, China

10 November 2022, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

Picture of a field landscape with yellow and white text superimposed, advertising a seminar

Rita Dal Martello (Max Planck Institute for Geoanthropology, Jena, Germany) will give an ICCHA China Night research seminar at the UCL Institute of Archaeology on 10 November.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology (ICCHA)


UCL Institute of Archaeology
31-34 Gordon Square

This is a hybrid event which will take place in Room 612, 6th floor of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, and also online via Zoom. Registration for the Zoom event is via the booking link above. 


The exploitation of secondary crops is a topic that has received relatively little attention. The site of Haimenkou, in northwest Yunnan, thanks to its unparallel degree of ancient plants preservation, offers a unique opportunity to reconstruct ancient productive systems in Southwest China and move beyond the focus on cereal foods to include a wider range of plants people exploited in the distant past. This presentation will review current evidence on past production of cannabis (Cannabis cf sativa) and Fat-Hen (Chenopodium cf album), and, on the basis of morphometric analyses of archaeobotanical remains from Haimenkou, outline a methodology for investigating questions of systematic exploitation and domestication trajectories of these two plants. This will allow us to not only better understand the complexity of past agricultural production in early Southwest China, but also start tracing the early history of crops still highly relevant to our modern society (such as hemp), or that hold great potential for future food production (such as Fat Hen).

This seminar is free and open to all. All welcome!