History of Rice

Rice is believed to have been first cultivated in China or possibly somewhere else in eastern Asia
around 10,000 years ago. The earliest concrete evidence of rice farming comes from a 7000-year-
old archeological site near the lower Yangtze River village of Hemudu in Zheijiang province in China.
When the rice grains unearthed there were found they were white but exposure to air turned them
black in a matter minutes. These grains can now be seen at a museum in Hemudu.
According to a Chinese legend rice came to China tied to a dogs tail, rescuing people from a famine
that occurred after a severe flood. Evidence of rice dated to 7000 B.C. has been found near the
village of Jiahu in Henan Province northern China near the Yellow River. It is not clear whether the
rice was cultivated or simply collected. Rice gains dated to 6000 B.C. have been discovered
Changsa in the Hunan Province. In the early 2000s, a team form South Korea's Chungbuk National
University announced that it had found the remains of rice grains in the Paleolithic site of Sorori
dated to around 12,000 B.C.
For a long time the earliest evidence of rice farming in Japan was dated to around 300 B.C. which
worked nicely into models that it was introduced when the Koreans, forced to migrate by upheaval in
China n the Warring States Period (403-221 B.C.), arrived around the same time. Later a number of
Korean objects, dated between 800 and 600 B.C., were found. These discoveries upset the
neatness of the model.
Then in the early 2000s, grains of wetland rice were found in pottery from northern Kyushu dated to
1000 B.C. This called into question the dating of the entire Yayoi period and caused some
archeologist to speculate that maybe wet-land rice farming was introduced directly from China. This
assertion is backed up somewhat by similarity in skeletal remains of 3000-year-old skeletons found
in Quinghai province in China and Yayoi bodies unearthed in northern Kyushu and Yamaguchi
prefecture.
Wild rice grows in forest clearings but was adapted to grow in shallow flooded fields. The
introduction of paddy agriculture dramatically changed the landscape and ecology of entire regions.
DNA analysis shows that these early forms of rice were different from varieties eaten today. Africans
cultivated another species of rice around 1500 B.C. The Moors introduced rice to Europe via Spain.


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