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Ancient rice discovery could rewrite history

By Hou Linliang,Lin Luorui Source: People's Daily Overseas Edition Published:2011-11-25

New archaeological evidence in the form of rice cultivated more than 8,000 years ago in China is causing a shake-up in the world's scientific community.

On the afternoon of Nov. 22, two archaeologists filtered out a grain of rice from the dirt layer of the Pengtoushan Civilization, which dates back about 8,000 or 9,000 years on the archaeological site of the Ancient Shanlonggang Relics close to the Linli County of Changde of Hunan province.

Later, they discovered another five grains of carbonized rice. These grains of rice may very well rewrite the history of human civilization.

Currently, the mainstream opinion of international academic communities is that the middle reaches of the Yangtze River was the original center of the world's rice cultivation. On Nov. 1, the Hunan Archaeological Institute, Harvard University, Peking University and Boston University started to jointly excavate the Ancient Shanlonggang Relics, which is located in the Liyang Plain of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River.

Regarding the grains of carbonized rice discovered on Nov. 22, the deputy director of the Hunan Archaeological Institute Gu Haibin said that they will bring them to the laboratory to further analyze them.

"If evidences showing they were planted by humans are found, the grains of rice will turn into an important proof proving that the Liyang Plain was the original site of rice cultivation," Gu said.