The Early Rice Project 

Investigating the evolution and impact of rice cultivation through the later prehistory of monsoon Asia.

Rice Panicle

Much of Asia depends on rice as a staple food, and so it has been for some 1000s of years.  Rice is a highly productive crop and the staple food in regions with the highest population densities, in East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. While rice has featured in the agriculture of monsoon Asia since prehistoric times, recent archaeological research has in providing new insights into the evolution of this crop, the diversification of rice agricultural systems, their role in social evolution and the potential contributions to global environmental change. 

Upcoming Symposium on Early Rice: 15-17 September 2015

(click for information on program)

Experimental harvesting of wild rice

Our current research project support by a major grant from NERC is entitled The impact of evolving of rice systems from China to Southeast Asia (Grant NE/K003402/1), from 1 May 2013-April 2016. This expands on initial work carried out through a previous NERC grant (NE/G005540/1) The Arable Systems in Prehistory (2009-2012). 

These Pages will cover a range of resources and information surrounding the archaeology of rice and rice agriculture.  Apart from being an outreach portal for schools and the public, this website aims to provide convenient access to current archaeobotanical research and the role that rice plays in human history.

Please use the right hand navigation links to find out more about the Early Rice Project, Rice, Learning tools, and Current Activity, or use the quick-links below:

What is the Early Rice Project?


Who we are

Visiting Tianluoshan site during the Hemudu culture festival

Where can I find out more about rice and archaeobotany?


The History of Rice


Find out about rice archaeobotany highlighted on the archaeobotanist blog

Tianluoshan domesticated rice spikelet base

other selected recent sources


Annual wild rice on margins of cultivation

Page last modified on 12 jul 15 17:21