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19 September 2009
Rice existed 4,000 years ago in Yangtze basin

New findings indicate that farming in the Yangtze Basin (China) existed as early as 4,000 years ago. Excavation in the Xiezi Area of Hubei Province yielded a total of 402 findings, including carbonized rice. Stone tools, pottery, bronze, jade and porcelain were unearthed, as well as a number of spinning wheels, drop spindles made of clay and other textile tools. There were also stone mounds and smelting relics such as slag. A variety of grains and seeds were found, and experts believe there may be carbonized wheat among the plant findings at the site.
     The Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology announced the findings. The relics were determined to be from the Neolithic Era at the time of the Shang Dynasty (ca. 1600–1050 BCE) and Western Zhou Dynasty (ca. 1046–771 BCE) The Xiezi Area is approximately 7.4 acres (30,000 sq. meters) in size, it is surrounded by ponds and swamps with farms distributed around the area.
     The combination of the findings and their stratigraphic age provides valuable information about the diet structure, production methods, and living conditions of the inhabitants of the area during the time of the Shang and Western Zhou dynasties.  Archeological team leader, Luo Yunbin explained that there had been speculation in the past about edible rice production in the Yangtze Basin, but the new findings provide solid physical evidence that there was agricultural development in that area during ancient times.

Source: Epoch Times (17 September 2009)

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