The Checkered Prehistory of Rice Movement Southwards as a Domesticated Cereal—from the Yangzi to the Equator

  title={The Checkered Prehistory of Rice Movement Southwards as a Domesticated Cereal—from the Yangzi to the Equator},
  author={Peter Bellwood},
This paper discusses the origins of Oryza sativa japonica rice cultivation in the Yangzi region of China and asks how and with which migrating human populations it spread south to reach Taiwan by 3,000 BC and Southeast Asia by 2,000 BC. The perspective adopted is that the spread of rice was driven mainly by demographic expansion, associated with a spread of languages and archaeological material culture. Environmental barriers also played major roles in establishing a “pause, adapt, spread… 
Coast to Coast: The Spread of Cereal Cultivation in the Taiwan Strait Region Before 3500 BP
  • Tuukka Kaikkonen
  • Biology
    Prehistoric Maritime Cultures and Seafaring in East Asia
  • 2019
This chapter argues that the introduction of cultivated cereals did not immediately or uniformly replace pre-existing subsistence practices in the Taiwan Strait region, and appears to have taken place in various forms over time according to changing environmental conditions in the Taiwanese Strait.
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The spread of rice, which has played an important role in models of Neolithic population dispersal in Southeast Asia, may have been triggered by the development of more intensive management systems and thus have required certain social changes towards hierarchical societies rather than just rice cultivation per se.
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An updated synthesis of the interwoven patterns of the spread of various rice varieties throughout Asia and to Madagascar can be suggested in which rice reached most of its historical range of important cultivation by the Iron Age.
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Between 4500 and 3500 years ago, partially intrusive Neolithic populations in the riverine basins of mainland Southeast Asia began to form mounded settlements and to develop economies based on rice
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Current portrayals of Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) over the past 5,000 years are dominated by discussion of the Austronesian “farming/language dispersal,” with associated linguistic replacement,
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The overall findings provide the most complete picture yet of pig evolution and domestication in East Asia, and generate testable hypotheses regarding the development and spread of early farmers in the Far East.
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This paper is a response, both to Fuller et al.'s recent criticism of Chinese research on rice domestication, as lacking evidence, and to their argument for the beginning of rice domestication around