Zhijun Zhao (Institute of Archaeology, CASS)
ABSTRACT: In the past ten years, flotation techniques have been introduced and implemented in Chinese archaeology. As a result, a tremendous quantity of plant remains have been recovered from archaeological sites located all over China. These plant remains include crops which might have been domesticated in China, such as rice, foxtail millet, broomcorn millet, and soybean, as well as crops which were introduced into China from other parts of world, such as wheat and barley. The new archaeobotanic data provide direct archaeological evidence for the study of the origins and development of agriculture in China. This paper attempts a synthesis of these new archaeobotanic data, while presenting some new ideas about the origins and development of ancient agriculture in China, including the rice agriculture tradition which originated around the middle and lower Yangze River areas, the dry-land agriculture tradition with millets as major crops centered in North China, and the ancient tropical agriculture tradition located in the tropical parts of China where the major crops seem to be roots and tubers, such as yam.