PerspectiveArchaeology

Origins of Agriculture in East Asia

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Science  08 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5928, pp. 730-731
DOI: 10.1126/science.1172082

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Summary

Some of the world's most important crops, including rice and soybean, originate from eastern Asia. This region is also the original home of several minor crops, such as buckwheat and certain types of millet. In their search for the earliest farms, archaeologists have been drawn to China's two major river valleys: the Yellow River in the north and the Yangtze River in the south. Grains of broomcorn and foxtail millet have been found in Neolithic farmsteads in the Yellow River region (1, 2), and sites in the Yangtze River region have yielded the world's earliest evidence of harvested rice grains (3).