, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 57-59
Date: 08 Jun 2010

Editorial: the archaeobotany of early rice agriculture in Asia

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Rice is the staple food par excellence of East Asia and the most densely populated landscapes of China, Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. The origins and spread of rice and the intensification of rice farming is often connected to the development of civilization and ancient states in many parts of this region (Gorou 1984; Bray 1994). While it is widely accepted that China was an independent centre of plant domestication (Bellwood 2005; Barker 2006) and rice was one of its major domesticated crops, the origins of agriculture has received less problem-oriented research than in regions like the Near East or Mesoamerica. Much discussion of agricultural origins has had a Western bias, focusing on the origins of wheat, or in America maize, and research by Western scholars on the origins of these crops.

In Japanese scholarship, there has long been an emphasis placed on the divergent traditions of agriculture, environment and culture in western and eastern Eurasia. One source of thi