International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology


08 Dec 2011 Dr Liu Xinyi China Night Lecture

15 November 2011

Date: 5:30pm Thursday 08 December 2011 Venue: 612, Institute of Archaeology, UCL Speaker: Dr Liu, Xinyi Research Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge University Topic: Food globalisation in prehistory: new approaches to Chinese prehistory Abstract: Each of today's major food species is distributed worldwide.

While much of that food globalisation has resulted from modern trade networks, it has its roots in prehistory. By the end of the second millennium BC, the south west Asian crops, wheat and barley, were in several parts of China, and Chinese millets and buckwheat were in Europe. There was a parallel exchange of crops between South Asia and Africa. Several thousands years prior to this, broomcorn millet (Panicum milliaceum), domesticated in North China, were in both sides of Eurasia. This research looks into features that relate both to the crop plants themselves and to the societies that utilised them. I intend to understand the process of Neolithic in China by employing macrofossil and stable isotopes analysis.


Dr Liu, Xinyi is the Research Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge. His research interest lies in understanding agriculture in Prehistory, including three aspects: the beginning of farming practices in northern Eurasia, in particular, early cultivation of Panicum miliaceum and Setaria italica; the nature of the Neolithic in relation to food production and consumption; and the cross-continental movements of starchy crops in the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age. These questions have led me to undertake fieldwork in Central Asia and the Mongolian Plateau.

After recently completed PhD at Cambridge, his current research uses macrofossil and stable isotope analyses to reconstruct human subsistence at late Neolithic and early Bronze Age sites in Central Asia. This is part of a 5 years ERC funded project, based at the McDonald Institute, which investigates the long-distance spread of agriculture in the third and second millennium BC. Fieldwork will be conducted mainly in Kazakhstan and West China.