Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 1259–1272 | Cite as

New evidence for rice cultivation from the Early Neolithic Hehuashan site

  • Zhenwei Qiu
  • Leping Jiang
  • Changsui Wang
  • David V. Hill
  • Yan WuEmail author
Original Paper


Phytolith analysis was conducted on soil samples from an archeological profile at the Hehuashan site, located in the upper Qiantang River region, China. This paper focuses on: (1) changes on the morphometric features of Oryza-type bulliform phytoliths from the rice leaves of the Early Neolithic Hehuashan site, (2) human adaptations during the Early Holocene, and (3) the cultivation of rice by Early Neolithic occupants in the upper Qiantang River region. The phytolith assemblage before and during the Early Neolithic Shangshan Culture occupation of the Hehuashan site indicates a landscape composed of reeds (Phragmites australis), rice (Oryza sp.), Bambusoideae, and some woody plants. The amount of Oryza-type bulliform phytoliths and the number of scale-like decorations present along their margins increased from the lowest to the uppermost deposits at the site. The change in the amount and morphology of bulliform phytoliths indicates the presence of wild rice around the site at the time of human occupation, which provides evidence of a shift from the collection and possible manipulation of wild rice to cultivation during the Shangshan Culture period (11400–8600 BP).


Oryza-type bulliform phytolith Scale-like decorations Wild rice Rice cultivation Early Neolithic 



We are grateful to our referees for helpful suggestions which have greatly improved the paper.

Funding information

This study was supported by grants from National Basic Research Program of China (no. 2015CB953803), National Natural Science Foundations of China (no.41472145&41702186), State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS) (no.143112), and Youth Innovation Promotion Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences (to Yan Wu).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhenwei Qiu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Leping Jiang
    • 3
  • Changsui Wang
    • 1
    • 4
  • David V. Hill
    • 5
  • Yan Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  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.Research Center of Field ArchaeologyNational Museum of ChinaBeijingChina
  3. 3.Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and ArchaeologyHangzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of Archaeology and AnthropologyUniversity of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS)BeijingChina
  5. 5.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyMetropolitan State University of DenverDenverUSA

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