Archaeobotany and Domestication
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Agriculture's roots spread east to Iran | Humans | Science News

Agriculture's roots spread east to Iran | Humans | Science News | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Agriculture originated across a broader swath of southwestern Asia’s Fertile Crescent, and over a longer time period, than many scientists have thought, excavations in western Iran suggest.

Between 11,700 and 9,800 years ago, residents of Chogha Golan, a settlement in the foothills of Iran’s Zagros Mountains, went from cultivating wild ancestors of modern crops to growing a form of domesticated wheat called emmer, say archaeobotanist Simone Riehl of the University of Tübingen, Germany, and her colleagues. Until now, most evidence of farming’s origins came from sites 700 to 1,500 kilometers west of Chogha Golan, the scientists report in the July 5Science.

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Archaeobotany and Domestication
Crop origins evidence from archaeology and botany
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Agricultural innovation and resilience in a long-lived early farming community: the 1,500-year sequence at Neolithic to early Chalcolithic Çatalhöyük, central Anatolia | Anatolian Studies | Cambrid...

Agricultural innovation and resilience in a long-lived early farming community: the 1,500-year sequence at Neolithic to early Chalcolithic Çatalhöyük, central Anatolia | Anatolian Studies | Cambrid... | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Agricultural innovation and resilience in a long-lived early farming community: the 1,500-year sequence at Neolithic to early Chalcolithic Çatalhöyük, central Anatolia - Volume 67 - Amy Bogaard, Dragana Filipović, Andrew Fairbairn, Laura Green, Elizabeth Stroud, Dorian Fuller, Michael Charles
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An updated synthesis on 20 years of archaeobotanical sampling and research at Catalhoyuk, a site remarkably large for the Neolithic and long-lasting, and thus suggesting a highly effective and sustainable agricultural system. Nevertheless, there are some key shifts in the choice of staple cereals, pulses and the extent of use of wild plant foods.
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Seed coat thinning during horsegram ( Macrotyloma uniflorum ) domestication documented through synchrotron tomography of archaeological seeds | Scientific Reports

Seed coat thinning during horsegram ( Macrotyloma uniflorum ) domestication documented through synchrotron tomography of archaeological seeds | Scientific Reports | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Reduction of seed dormancy mechanisms, allowing for rapid germination after planting, is a recurrent trait in domesticated plants, and can often be linked to changes in seed coat structure, in particular thinning. We report evidence for seed coat thinning between 2,000 BC and 1,200 BC, in southern Indian archaeological horsegram (Macrotyloma uniflorum), which it has been possible to document with high precision and non-destructively, through high resolution x-ray computed tomography using a synchrotron. We find that this trait underwent stepped change, from thick to semi-thin to thin seed coats, and that the rate of change was gradual. This is the first time that the rate of evolution of seed coat thinning in a legume crop has been directly documented from archaeological remains, and it contradicts previous predictions that legume domestication occurred through selection of pre-adapted low dormancy phenotypes from the wild.
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The origins and early dispersal of horsegram (Macrotyloma uniflorum), a major crop of ancient India

The origins and early dispersal of horsegram (Macrotyloma uniflorum), a major crop of ancient India | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Horsegram has been an important crop since the beginning of agriculture in many parts of South Asia. Despite horsegram’s beneficial properties as a hardy, multi-functional crop, it is still regarded as a food of the poor, particularly in southern India. Mistakenly regarded as a minor crop, largely due to entrenched biases against this under-utilised crop, horsegram has received far less research than other pulses of higher status. The present study provides an updated analysis of evidence for horsegram’s origins, based on archaeological evidence, historical linguistics, and herbarium collections of probable wild populations. Our survey of herbarium specimens provides an updated map of the probable range of the wild progenitor. A large database of modern reference material provides an updated baseline for distinguishing wild and domesticated seeds, while an extensive dataset of archaeological seed measurements provides evidence for regional trends towards larger seed size, indicating domestication. Separate trends towards domestication are identified for north-western India around 4000 BP, and for the Indian Peninsula around 3500 BP, suggesting at least two separate domestications. This synthesis provides a new baseline for further germplasm sampling, especially of wild populations, and further archaeobotanical data collection.

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Tea: A Coffee Drinker's Guide, Food Programme - BBC Radio 4

Tea: A Coffee Drinker's Guide, Food Programme - BBC Radio 4 | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

A radio program on tea: including a discussion of the archaeobotany.

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Subsistence mosaics, forager-farmer interactions, and the transition to food production in eastern Africa

Subsistence mosaics, forager-farmer interactions, and the transition to food production in eastern Africa | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The spread of agriculture across sub-Saharan Africa has long been attributed to the large-scale migration of Bantu-speaking groups out of their west Central African homeland from about 4000 years ago. These groups are seen as having expanded rapidly across the sub-continent, carrying an ‘Iron Age’ package of farming, metal-working, and pottery, and largely replacing pre-existing hunter-gatherers along the way. While elements of the ‘traditional’ Bantu model have been deconstructed in recent years, one of the main constraints on developing a more nuanced understanding of the local processes involved in the spread of farming has been the lack of detailed archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological sequences, particularly from key regions such as eastern Africa. Situated at a crossroads between continental Africa and the Indian Ocean, eastern Africa was not only a major corridor on one of the proposed Bantu routes to southern Africa, but also the recipient of several migrations of pastoral groups from the north. In addition, eastern Africa saw the introduction of a range of domesticates from India, Southeast Asia, and other areas of the Indian Ocean sphere through long-distance maritime connections. The possibility that some Asian crops, such as the vegecultural ‘tropical trio’ (banana, taro, and yam), arrived before the Bantu expansion has in particular raised many questions about the role of eastern Africa's nonagricultural communities in the adoption and subsequent diffusion of crops across the continent. Drawing on new botanical and faunal evidence from recent excavations at a range of hunter-gatherer and early farming sites on eastern Africa's coast and offshore islands, and with comparison to inland sites, this paper will examine the timing and tempo of the agricultural transition, the nature of forager-farmerpastoralist interactions, and the varying roles that elements of the ‘Bantu package’, pastoralism, and nonAfrican domesticates played in local economies. This paper highlights the complex pathways and transitions that unfolded, as well as how eastern Africa links into a broader global picture of heterogeneous, dynamic, and extended transformations from forager to farmer that challenge our fundamental understanding of pre-modern Holocene societies
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8A ArnonP's curator insight, March 13, 11:49 AM
This article is about the spread of argiculture in Africa. The spread of agriculture across sub-Saharan Africa was cause by the large-scale migration of Bantu-speaking groups out of their homeland in west Central Africa about 4,000 years ago, this is called the Bantu expansion. The Bantus explaned rapidly across the sub-continent, carrying packages for farming, metal-working, and potter, and largely replacing pre-exxisting hunter-gatheres along the way. While the elements of the Bantu model have been analyzed in recent years, one of the main problem the limit the developing a better understanding of the spread of farming. Situated at a corssroads between continental Africa and the Indian Ocean, eastern Africa was not only a major corridor on of the proposed Bantu routes to southern Africa, it was also a recipient of several migrations of groups of farmer from the north.
This article help me understand about Africa by telling me about the Bantu expansion that caused a large group of farmers to migrate from West Africa to southern Africa. This also help me understand African was advanced because 4,000 years ago, they had stuff for farming, metal-working, and pottery. I think that this topic is still a mystery because know one exactly know what caused the Bantu to migrate to souther Africa.  
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Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions

Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The exhibition of increasingly intensive and complex niche construction behaviors through time is a key feature of human evolution, culminating in the advanced capacity for ecosystem engineering exhibited by Homo sapiens. A crucial outcome of such behaviors has been the dramatic reshaping of the global biosphere, a transformation whose early origins are increasingly apparent from cumulative archaeological and paleoecological datasets. Such data suggest that, by the Late Pleistocene, humans had begun to engage in activities that have led to alterations in the distributions of a vast array of species across most, if not all, taxonomic groups. Changes to biodiversity have included extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition, diversity, and community structure. We outline key examples of these changes, highlighting findings from the study of new datasets, like ancient DNA (aDNA), stable isotopes, and microfossils, as well as the application of new statistical and computational methods to datasets that have accumulated significantly in recent decades. We focus on four major phases that witnessed broad anthropogenic alterations to biodiversity—the Late Pleistocene global human expansion, the Neolithic spread of agriculture, the era of island colonization, and the emergence of early urbanized societies and commercial networks. Archaeological evidence documents millennia of anthropogenic transformations that have created novel ecosystems around the world. This record has implications for ecological and evolutionary research, conservation strategies, and the maintenance of ecosystem services, pointing to a significant need for broader cross-disciplinary engagement between archaeology and the biological and environmental sciences.TA
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:
A synthesis on the role of archaeology in documenting how long-term niche construction by human societies has shaped our world since the Pleistocene, and continues to do so. An anthropocene era did simply start with the invention of the steam engine.
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La desaparición de los paisajes 'vírgenes'

La desaparición de los paisajes 'vírgenes' | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
En diálogo con W Fin de Semana, Dorian Fuller, arqueólogo especializado en botánica, dijo que esto se debe a al actividad humana.
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A radio program on the long-term transformations of landscapes, such as the Amazon, through human action. Mostly in Spanish, but including an interview in English with Dorian Fuller
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BananasThe Spread of a Tropical Forest Fruit as an Agricultural Staple - Oxford Handbooks

BananasThe Spread of a Tropical Forest Fruit as an Agricultural Staple - Oxford Handbooks | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The banana (Musa) is one of the world’s most important crops and the most valuable fruit in the global market. In the search for varieties that are more pest- and disease-resistant plant breeders are increasingly looking to the wild progenitors,—as understanding its evolution is key to genetic improvement. The banana was also an important economic crop in prehistory although it is difficult to track its history of domestication and evolution due to preservation issues, the lack of reliable species identification criteria and limited archaeological evidence. Just two archaeobotanical studies of macro-remains and phytoliths, in New Guinea and Cameroon, have provided reliable identifications and interpretations to help our understanding of the origins and evolution of the banana. But to track the spread and growing importance of this plant in the diet, across the tropics and through time, we need to combine information drawn from botany, genetics, linguistics and archaeology.
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Barnyard grasses were processed with rice around 10000 years ago

Barnyard grasses were processed with rice around 10000 years ago | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Rice (Oryza sativa) is regarded as the only grass that was selected for cultivation and eventual domestication in the Yangtze basin of China. Although both macro-fossils and micro-fossils of rice have been recovered from the Early Neolithic site of Shangshan, dating to more than 10,000 years before present (BP), we report evidence of phytolith and starch microfossils taken from stone tools, both for grinding and cutting, and cultural layers, that indicating barnyard grass (Echinochloa spp.) was
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, November 9, 2015 8:32 PM

Evidence for wild millet grass gathering and processing alongside rice in the millennia before clear evidence for the domestication process.

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Ancient Oats Discovery Shows Cavemen Loved Carbs | The Plate

Ancient Oats Discovery Shows Cavemen Loved Carbs | The Plate | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Maybe the Paleo Diet should include a nice warm bowl of oatmeal. Strict followers of the fashionable “caveman” regimen shun starchy foods, sticking to breakfasts such as cold halibut with fruit and…
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Can Triticum urartu (Poaceae) be identified by pollen analysis? Implications for detecting the ancestor of the extinct two-grained einkorn-like wheat

Can Triticum urartu (Poaceae) be identified by pollen analysis? Implications for detecting the ancestor of the extinct two-grained einkorn-like wheat | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The domestication of the one-grained einkorn (Triticum monococcum) in the Near East is relatively well known. However, an independent two-grained einkorn-like domestication has been archaeobotanically detected and scarce information is available. Triticum urartu, a wild wheat, was not fully described until the 1970s because the phenology does not allow it to be distinguished easily from wild einkorn (Triticum boeoticum subsp. thaoudar), although a genetic separation exists. Both species are mostly two grained and could potentially be the relatives of the extinct two-grained form. Pollen grains of several genetically well-identified wheat species, including T. urartu and T. boeoticum subsp. thaoudar, were studied by measuring the grain diameter and examining the exine sculpturing with phase-contrast microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to gain an insight into differences enabling taxonomic identification. This work showed that, although T. urartu pollen is smaller on average, grain diameter is not sufficient because of the size overlap between the species, but T. urartu presents a different exine sculpturing (scabrate) from other Triticum spp. (aerolate). This outcome is useful for taxonomists and archaeobotanists. First, it will allow a simple re-classification of herbarium materials. Second, further research could establish whether T. urartu was cultivated. © 2015 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2015, 177, 278–289.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Maybe the time has come to restart some archaeological palynology! We cal separate the pollen of Triticum urartu from Triticum monococcum, which means pollen may be a way forward to determine the identity of archaeological 2-grained einkorn, an important lost crop of the Early Near East and Neolithic Europe. Given that crop-processing disperses cereal pollen locally (see 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959774300000615). This could prove a useful way forward.

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DNA trail leads to new spot for dog domestication | Science News

DNA trail leads to new spot for dog domestication | Science News | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Dogs were the first domesticated species, but the precise timing and location of domestication are hotly debated. Using genomic data from 5,392 dogs, including a global set of 549 village dogs, we find strong evidence that dogs were domesticated in Central Asia, perhaps near present-day Nepal and Mongolia. Dogs in nearby regions (e.g., East Asia, India, and Southwest Asia) contain high levels of genetic diversity due to their proximity to Central Asia and large population sizes. Indigenous dog populations in the Neotropics and South Pacific have been largely replaced by European dogs, whereas those in Africa show varying degrees of European vs. indigenous African ancestry.

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Ancient Wolf Genome Reveals an Early Divergence of Domestic Dog Ancestors and Admixture into High-Latitude Breeds

Ancient Wolf Genome Reveals an Early Divergence of Domestic Dog Ancestors and Admixture into High-Latitude Breeds | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

An ancient Siberian wolf yields a first draft genome sequence of a Pleistocene carnivore

•The 35,000-year-old wolf genome allowed recalibration of the lupine mutation rate

•Dog ancestors diverged from modern wolf ancestors at least 27,000 years ago

•Ancient Siberian wolves contributed to the ancestry of high-latitude dog breeds

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

ancient DNA from a Siberian wolf supported a divergence of domesticated dog at least 27,000 years, which in turn fits with 30,000 year archaeological dogs with ancient DNA published in recent years. Or to quote Larson and Fuller (2014) "

Dogs were first, and though significant
questions remain about exactly where, when, and how many times they were domesticated, they
were widely established across Eurasia before the end of the Pleistocene, well before cultivation
or the domestication of other animals".see also: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057754

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Human Dispersal and Species Movement edited by Nicole Boivin

Human Dispersal and Species Movement edited by Nicole Boivin | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Human Dispersal and Species Movement - edited by Nicole Boivin


This book is the result of an experiment in bringing together scholars from a range of different fields, providing them with a congenial setting for discussions in the form of the former residence of the “Sun King”, Louis XIV, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just outside Paris, and ensuring a healthy supply of fine French wine. This experiment was kindly conducted by the eminent Fyssen Foundation from 4 to 7 October 2013. We are grateful for their support both for the conference and its organisation, and for the production of this book. The Fyssen Conference was entitled “From Colonisation to Globalisation: Species Movements in Human History”. Like this book, its focus was on the myriad ways in which humans have shaped the movement of other species – and, as a result, ecosystems – throughout their evolutionary history from the Pliocene to the present day. We are very pleased that both the conference and the resultant book managed to attract a range of top scholars from diverse fields, including archaeology, biological anthropology, history, epidemiology, ecology, geography, and molecular genetics. The conference featured stimulating dialogue and debate, much of which has worked its way into this finished volume.

[from the Preface]

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This book includes several chapters on the dispersal of crops, livestock and agricultural systems, in addition to many of early humans, diseases, etc.
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Caught in the jump

Caught in the jump | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Microbial pathogens of plants typically cause disease on a limited number of host species. In nature, pathogens rarely become pathogenic to a new host. The underlying mechanisms of such host jumps are poorly understood but are thought to be linked to the capacity of the pathogen to undermine immunity of the former nonhost species (1). On page 80 of this issue, Inoue et al. (2) report a host jump mechanism of a notorious pathogenic fungus, Pyricularia oryzae, which causes blast disease in cereals.

The immune system of plants consists of two branches. First, surface-resident pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) detect microbial epitopes that are often conserved among many microbial taxa. Second, intracellular nucleotide-binding and leucinerich repeat proteins (NLRs) detect the actions of polymorphic pathogen-delivered and virulence-promoting proteins, called effectors. Recognized effectors are denoted avirulence genes (AVRs). Pathogen effectors often work by subverting signaling initiated by PRRs, facilitating host colonization and disease. The effector arsenal varies between strains of a pathogen species and is a major determinant for adaptation to specific hosts.

Via Francis Martin, Elsa Ballini
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:
One of the poorly understood strands of the origins and spread of agriculture,is the origins of crop diseases, which must have be facilitated by the spread to new environments and the diversification of crop packages.
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ESurfD - SHORT COMMUNICATION: Massive Erosion in Monsoonal Central India Linked to Late Holocene Landcover Degradation

ESurfD - SHORT COMMUNICATION: Massive Erosion in Monsoonal Central India Linked to Late Holocene Landcover Degradation | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Abstract. Soil erosion plays a crucial role in transferring sediment and carbon from land to sea, yet little is known about the rhythm and rates of soil erosion prior to the most recent few centuries. Here we reconstruct a Holocene erosional history from central India, as integrated by the Godavari River in a sediment core from the Bay of Bengal. We quantify terrigenous fluxes, fingerprint sources for the lithogenic fraction and assess the age of the exported terrigenous carbon. Taken together, our data show that the monsoon decline in the late Holocene, later exacerbated by the Neolithic adoption and Iron Age extensification of agriculture on the Deccan Plateau, significantly increased soil erosion and the age of exported organic carbon. Despite a constantly elevated sea level since the middle Holocene, this erosion acceleration led to rapid continental margin growth. We conclude that in monsoon conditions, aridity boosts rather than supresses sediment and carbon export acting as a veritable monsoon erosional pump modulated by landcover conditions.
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:
Data from the Godavari river delta indicates an increase in erosion (downcutting into older upstream sediments) from the mid-Holocene due to drier climatic conditions. A second phase of even more erosion over the past 2000 years is less clearly tied to climate and suggests the impact of anthropogenic factors (agricultural intensification) 
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Hunter-gatherer specialization in the late Neolithic of southern Vietnam – The case of Rach Nui

Hunter-gatherer specialization in the late Neolithic of southern Vietnam – The case of Rach Nui | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Rach Nui is a late Neolithic settlement of hunter-gatherers in southern Vietnam. However, the site also has a series of mortared floors corresponding to a sedentary lifestyle, where the inhabitants continued to live in the same area and repaired or replaced their floors over a period of 150 years. The inhabitants relied on a mixed economy that included domesticated and gathered plants, as well as hunted and managed animals. Although, there is evidence for the consumption of domesticated rice and foxtail millet, the inhabitants were mainly hunter-gatherers who relied on their surrounding mangrove and swamp forest habitats for most of their food requirements. From the archaeobotanical work done, it appears that the domesticated cereals, rice and foxtail millet, found at the site were imported. On the other hand, sedge nutlets and parenchyma were identified in high frequencies and were probably locally sourced, suggesting that foraging and/or vegeculture played a major role in the economy of Rach Nui
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Ancient crops provide first archaeological signature of the westward Austronesian expansion

Ancient crops provide first archaeological signature of the westward Austronesian expansion | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The prehistoric settlement of Madagascar by people from distant Southeast Asia has long captured both scholarly and public imagination, but on the ground evidence for this colonization has eluded archaeologists for decades. Our study provides the first, to our knowledge, archaeological evidence for an early Southeast Asian presence in Madagascar and reveals that this settlement extended to the Comoros. Our findings point to a complex Malagasy settlement history and open new research avenues for linguists, geneticists, and archaeologists to further study the timing and process of this population movement. They also provide insight into early processes of Indian Ocean biological exchange and in particular, Madagascar’s floral introductions, which account for one-tenth of its current vascular plant species diversity.
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, July 12, 2016 1:13 PM
This study documents that arrival of Asian rice in SE Africa and Madagascar from the 8th century AD
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Taming Nature, The Forum - BBC World Service

Taming Nature, The Forum - BBC World Service | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Living at the Edge: Life in Extreme Environments
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a World Service discussion on the creation of landscapes, or how nature and culture work together-- for artists, gardeners, and over the long-term for past societies. This very much relates to seeing the origins and development of agriculture as part of a long-term anthropocene process.
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Diversification and Cultural Construction of a Crop -The case of glutinous rice

Diversification and Cultural Construction of a Crop -The case of glutinous rice | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Rice (Oryza) is one of the world’s most important and productive staple foods, with highly diverse uses and varieties. We use archaeobotany, culture, history, and ethnobotany to trace the history of the development of sticky (or glutinous) forms. True sticky rice is the result of a genetic mutation that causes a loss of amylose starch but higher amylopectin content. These mutations are unknown in wild populations but have become important amongst cultivars in East and Southeast Asia (unlike other regions). In the same region, other cereals have also evolved parallel mutations that confer stickiness when cooked. This points to a strong role for cultural history and food preparation traditions in the genetic selection and breeding of Asian cereal varieties. The importance of sticky rice in ritual foods and alcoholic beverages in East and Southeast Asia also suggests the entanglement of crop varieties and culturally inherited food traditions and ritual symbolism.
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, June 15, 2016 6:07 AM
A review of the cultural importance of sticky rices throughout East and Southeast Asia with a model of their history that takes into account genetic evidence, archaeology, ancient history and the parallel evolution of other glutinous cereals like millets.
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Contesting the presence of wheat in the British Isles 8,000 years ago by assessing ancient DNA authenticity from low-coverage data

Contesting the presence of wheat in the British Isles 8,000 years ago by assessing ancient DNA authenticity from low-coverage data | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Contamination with exogenous DNA is a constant hazard to ancient DNA studies, since their validity greatly depend on the ancient origin of the retrieved sequences. Since contamination occurs sporadically, it is fundamental to show positive evidence for ...
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This study models the expected decay patterns in 8000 year old wheat DNA and compares it that that reported from off the British coast earlier this year (http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/mesolithic-cereal-trade-in-europe.html). Turns out the sedimentary aDNA doesn't look to Mesolithic after all. Oops.

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Alternative strategies to agriculture: the evidence for climatic shocks and cereal declines during the British Neolithic and Bronze Age (a reply to Bishop)

Alternative strategies to agriculture: the evidence for climatic shocks and cereal declines during the British Neolithic and Bronze Age (a reply to Bishop) | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Our suggestion that agriculture was temporarily abandoned for several centuries throughout much of mainland Britain after 3600 BC has provoked criticism, notably the claim by Bishop (2015) that we have missed continuity in Scotland. We demonstrate that firm evidence for widespread agriculture within the later Neolithic is still unproven. We trace the disappearance of cereals and the associated population collapse to a probable climatic shift that impacted the abundance of rainfall and lowered temperatures, thus affecting the reliability of cereals. Divergent strategies and patterns are identified on the Scottish Islands versus the mainland, which has more in common with England, Wales and Ireland. We argue that climate shocks disrupt existing subsistence patterns, to which varied responses are represented by divergent island and mainland patterns, both in the Late Neolithic and during the Early and Middle Bronze Age. Favourable climates encouraged population growth and subsistence innovation, such as at the start of the Neolithic and in the Beaker period.
 
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

An updated consideration of direct dates on British cereals, in reponse to debate offered by R. Bishop. When broken down by region the evidence is even more compelling that climatic changes impacted the persistence of cereal cultivation, but these impacts and subsistence strategies difference by region, with the Scottish islands notably distinct.

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SeedSearch

The Seed Sample database has 48,000 records accounted for 60% of all seed samples in herbarium, including about 1777 genus, 11149 species and 20,000 photos. Seeds collected from China, also came from all over the world by exchange.

 
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The seed collection of the Natinal Herbariu in Beijing is now ~60% digitized, with nice photos. A very useful resource. About 10 years ago I used the collection to learn some Chinese taxa. It is by no means comprehensive for Chinese flora but it is a good start.

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Phytoliths as a tool for investigations of agricultural origins and dispersals around the world

Phytoliths as a tool for investigations of agricultural origins and dispersals around the world | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Agricultural origins and dispersals are subjects of fundamental importance to archaeology as well as many other scholarly disciplines. These investigations are world-wide in scope and require significant amounts of paleobotanical data attesting to the exploitation of wild progenitors of crop plants and subsequent domestication and spread. Accordingly, for the past few decades the development of methods for identifying the remains of wild and domesticated plant species has been a focus of paleo-ethnobotany. Phytolith analysis has increasingly taken its place as an important independent contributor of data in all areas of the globe, and the volume of literature on the subject is now both very substantial and disseminated in a range of international journals. In this paper, experts who have carried out the hands-on work review the utility and importance of phytolith analysis in documenting the domestication and dispersals of crop plants around the world. It will serve as an important resource both to paleo-ethnobotanists and other scholars interested in the development and spread of agriculture.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

an updated review of phytolith approaches to tracing early crops, crop varieties and domestications.

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 20, 2015 2:24 PM

Includes a summary of approaches to tracking rice in the archaeological phytolith record, including work from the UCL lab on rice cultivation ecology...

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PLOS ONE: From Early Domesticated Rice of the Middle Yangtze Basin to Millet, Rice and Wheat Agriculture: Archaeobotanical Macro-Remains from Baligang, Nanyang Basin, Central China (6700–500 BC)

PLOS ONE: From Early Domesticated Rice of the Middle Yangtze Basin to Millet, Rice and Wheat Agriculture: Archaeobotanical Macro-Remains from Baligang, Nanyang Basin, Central China (6700–500 BC) | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Baligang is a Neolithic site on a northern tributary of the middle Yangtze and provides a long archaeobotanical sequence from the Seventh Millennium BC upto the First Millennium BC. It provides evidence for developments in rice and millet agriculture influenced by shifting cultural affiliation with the north (Yangshao and Longshan) and south (Qujialing and Shijiahe) between 4300 and 1800 BC. This paper reports on plant macro-remains (seeds), from systematic flotation of 123 samples (1700 litres), producing more than 10,000 identifiable remains. The earliest Pre-Yangshao occupation of the sites provide evidence for cultivation of rice ( Oryza sativa ) between 6300–6700 BC. This rice appears already domesticated in on the basis of a dominance of non-shattering spikelet bases. However, in terms of grain size changes has not yet finished, as grains are still thinner than more recent domesaticated rice and are closer in grain shape to wild rices. This early rice was cultivated alongside collection of wild staple foods, especially acorns ( Quercus/Lithicarpus sensu lato). In later periods the sites has evidence for mixed farming of both rice and millets ( Setaria italica and Panicum miliaceum ). Soybean appears on the site in the Shijiahe period (ca.2500 BC) and wheat ( Triticum cf. aestivum ) in the Late Longshan levels (2200–1800 BC). Weed flora suggests an intensification of rice agriculture over time with increasing evidence of wetland weeds. We interpret these data as indicating early opportunistic cultivation of alluvial floodplains and some rainfed rice, developing into more systematic and probably irrigated cultivation starting in the Yangshao period, which intensified in the Qujialing and Shijiahe period, before a shift back to an emphasis on millets with the Late Longshan cultural influence from the north.
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Important evidence for early domestication rice, which is highly non-shattering but still small-grained. This suggests these two trait may be evolving differentially in this region in contrast to the Lower Yangtze, but unfortunately we have no immediately earlier or later assemblages from the region to compare it with, so the extent to which this is a "dead end" or how it fits into a domestication trajectory remains to be determined.

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 15, 2015 7:31 AM

An important archaeobotanical sequence from central China, which charts the rise and fall of millets versus rice in this regions between the Yangshao and the Shijiahe period. It also has a much earlier occupation (6300 BC) with non-shattering (domesticated) rice, which makes this earlier than evidence in the Lower Yangtze (or anywhere else at present), but presumably a separate domestication episode...

Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 15, 2015 8:53 AM

Important evidence for early domestication rice, which is highly non-shattering but still small-grained. This suggests these two trait may be evolving differentially in this region in contrast to the Lower Yangtze, but unfortunately we have no immediately earlier or later assemblages from the region to compare it with, so the extent to which this is a "dead end" or how it fits into a domestication trajectory remains to be determined.