Coast to Coast: The Spread of Cereal Cultivation in the Taiwan Strait Region Before 3500 BP
The expansion of cereal cultivation is a major area of debate in the archaeology of the Holocene (e.g., Fuller and Lucas 2017). Indeed, the adoption of cultivation arguably represents a significant shift that fed cultural, demographic, and environmental transformations throughout the Asia-Pacific region. However, based on studies of the Taiwan Strait region, this chapter argues that the introduction of cultivated cereals did not immediately or uniformly replace pre-existing subsistence practices. Rather, this shift appears to have taken place in various forms over time according to changing environmental conditions in the Taiwan Strait. This chapter traces connections between environmental and subsistence changes and identifies present gaps in the knowledge about plant use in the region until ca. 3500 BP. By that date the Neolithic period in Fujian had come to an end and cereal cultivation was an established (if not necessarily a dominant) subsistence strategy on either side of the Strait.
I wish to thank Wu Chunming and Barry Rolett for the opportunity to participate in the conference and to contribute to these proceedings. I also wish to express my gratitude to Hung Hsiao-chun for constructive feedback and suggestions that greatly helped to improve this paper. Any errors remain my own. I acknowledge the Australian Government Research Training Program scholarship as the source of funding for my Ph.D. candidature at the Australian National University (2017–2018).
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