Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationStanford U.
Grant numberGr. 9635
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleWang, Jiajing, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Rice Domestication in the Lower Yangtze Valley: From a Luxury Food to a Mundane Staple?,' supervised by Dr. Li Liu
Preliminary abstract: The transition to agriculture is one of the most consequential events in human history. The Lower Yangtze valley of China is renowned as the origin of rice agriculture, but despite more than two decades of extensive studies, the process of rice domestication remains unclear. This project focuses on the Shangshan and Kuahuqiao periods (11,000- 7,000 BP), which document a critical period of rice domestication along with a series of changes in material culture reflective of shifting social relationships and cultural practices. This proposed research differs from most previous investigations of rice domestication by asking ‘how’ agriculture emerged, rather than simply ‘what’ plants were grown and ‘when’ domestication occurred. By applying residue (starch, phytolith and chemical) analysis to examine the ceramic and lithic remains from the Shangshan site, the project aims 1) to understand the social perspectives of plant foods during the agricultural transition and 2) to test the hypothesis that rice was initially cultivated as a luxury food, possibly for alcohol making, in the Lower Yangtze. The data generated by this research will offer a comparative case study that sheds light on the studies of agricultural origins in other parts of the world.