Thanks to 3 years of funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
this project is looking at early rice agriculture by using
science-based archaeology to learn about the interactions between
humans and their environment in Asia from roughly 7,000 - 4,000 years
Through the systematic recording of modern traditional farming techniques, we will create a unique record of rice ecology which we can compare to the archaeological record. This comparison will provide an all new insight to the ways rice was domesticated, how agricultural systems spread, and how the interconnected development between rice and humans began.
As part of this research we will also be looking at
patterns of methane gas emissions from rice farming in the
archaeological record. Greenhouse gasses, created by methane
emissions, can be recorded in early rice domestication and as
agriculture developed across Asia. Using comparative scientific
approaches we hope to uncover just what sort of role rice played in
early climate change, and how this global staple crop has impacted the
environment throughout its complex relationship with humans.