The Early Rice Project: From Domestication to Global Warming

Dorian Q. Fuller, Alison Weisskopf


The Early Rice Project, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, is clarifying the origins of Asian rice agriculture. In the Lower Yangtze region of China, we have found the tipping point when domesticated forms first outnumber wild types c.4600 BC. Investigations of assorted weed flora are also revealing how the cultivation of rice changed over time, with early cultivation in small, irregular, dug-out paddy fields in the Lower Yangtze from c.4000 BC, providing a means for the careful control of water conditions. We also work on early rice cultivation in Thailand and India. By better characterising how rice was cultivated across its entire range, we aim to model the ancient output of atmospheric methane from wet rice fields, as this was a potential contributor to the long story of human-caused global warming.

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How to cite: Fuller, D.Q. and Weisskopf, A 2011. The Early Rice Project: From Domestication to Global Warming. Archaeology International 13:44-51, DOI:

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Published on 22 October 2011.

ISSN: 2048-4194 | Published by Ubiquity Press | Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.