Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 12, pp 1792–1803 | Cite as

Pollen dispersal in traditional processing of buckwheat and its application in agricultural archaeology

  • Yang Liu
  • Xue ShangEmail author
  • Pengfei Sheng
  • Guoding Song
Research Paper


Pollen, as an important index of the paleoenvironment and ancient human agricultural activities, is also one of the significant indicators for research on buckwheat agriculture. In order to test buckwheat pollen dispersal during each crop processing stage, we applied traditional processing simulation experiments of buckwheat crops in a modern village, to collect aerial pollen and perform statistical analysis. The result has shown that the distribution of buckwheat pollen in residential areas is closely related to human processing behaviour. Among all the processing procedures, pollen release rate is highest in the threshing and the sieving stages. The redistribution and burial of pollen during crop processing is an important reason for the prominent increase of crop pollen concentration in the cultural layer. Not only can it indicate the cultivation and processing behaviour of humans but also provide a basis for identifying the crop processing remains in archaeological sites and assessing the intensity of agricultural activities.


Buckwheat Crop processing Pollen dispersal Agricultural activities Agricultural archaeology 



We thank Prof. Li Xiaoqiang from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy Sciences, Prof. Jiang Hongen from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Prof. Martin K. Jones from the University of Cambridge for their helpful discussion work. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41471167 & 41730319), and the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2015CB953803).


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yang Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xue Shang
    • 2
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pengfei Sheng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guoding Song
    • 2
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and PaleoanthropologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Archaeology and AnthropologyUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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