An International Seminar titled “the Origin of Rice and Rice Farming” was held in Wannian county，Jiangxi province during October 27 and October 30,2008. The seminar was coorganized by the
government of Wannian county, Jiangxi province and the Research Center for Scientific Archaeology
of IA CASS, and hosted by professor Zhao Zhijun with over 50 attendants from China, Japan, South Korea and
the United States.
The conference consisted of three topics:
（1）the origin and spread of rice farming-theory and practice,
（2）the criterion for identification of rice excavated from archaeological sites (such as rice-grain shape, rachilla and structure, rice seedlings and phytolith, and so on) ，
（3）discussion of the origin of cultivated rice by the use of DNA technology.
The seminar focused on these discussions. Only a select group of scholars were tasked to deliver speeches on
each of the main issues. Conference participants asked questions and continued further discussions with each topic
relevant to the main speeches. For example, how to define the essence to the study of the origin of rice farming?
What are the signs of the origins of rice farming? What is the relationship between the beginning of dry farming and
rice farming in the regions of Northern China and what is the criteria and methods to accurately identify excavated
rice grains from archaeological sites as well as the ancient paddy fields ruins, How to explore the origins of rice
cultivationuse by the use of DNA technology, and so on.
During the meeting, the scholars visited the famous Xianrendong site and Diaotonghuan site, and made an on-site investigation to the town of Feimei. This is where is the origin place of cultivation for the “Ye He” rice that is
unique in Wannian county in Jiangxi. This is especially relevant to understanding the growth habits and special
circumstances of the original and obvious cultivated rice species. After the meeting, thanks to the support and help
of Hunan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, the scholars went to Li Yang Plains in the north of
Hunan to pay a visit to some of the main archaeological sites for rice cultivation such as Bashidang, Chengtoushan,
Jijiaocheng etc. These are all areas especially relevant to the early rice farming.
The seminar concluded with making the following achievements: an intensive and highlighted discussion of the theory
of the origin of rice farming; an academic exchange of ideas on the various methods to identify rice grains excavated
from archaeological sites and finally a conversation and debate was held between the scholars of molecular biology
and archeology on some focus topic which are beneficial to strengthen the acquaintance and understanding within
these academic disciplines.
The seminar left its participants with an understanding and acceptance that further study and research on the
origin of rice farming is still required. This includes the urgent need for further cooperation of scholars both across
various academic disciplines as well as across various countries and regions. In addition, the format of the conference
encouraged short and disciplined discussions that allowed all participants to have sufficient time to discuss and exchange
ideas. This form was adopted from the conference “the exchange and spread for the early agriculture in northeast
Asia” held in Dalian.
Translated by Mark Davis & Yang Jie.