, Volume 4, Issue 3-4, pp 114-120
Date: 24 Nov 2011

Rice in Thailand: The Archaeobotanical Contribution

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There are few archaeological projects incorporating archaeobotanical sampling and even fewer published archaeobotanical studies in Thailand. Available data show that rice was the ubiquitous cereal in prehistory and particularly during the Metal/Iron Age. This either signifies the importance of rice as a crop or signals a preservation bias; both topics are considered in this paper. The site Khao Sam Kaeo in Peninsular Thailand (ca. 400–100 BCE) is strategically located between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea providing evidence of Indian, Han Chinese and locally produced cultural material. The archaeobotanical assemblage attests to South Asian and East Asian influence as well: the mungbean and horsegram of Indian origin and the northern Chinese cereal foxtail millet. But the site has also yielded the greatest amount of rice from Thai archaeology and provides information on the domestication of rice and the cultivation practices during this Late Prehistoric period.