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Original Articles Open Access
Analysis of crop remains has the potential to provide direct evidence of agricultural conditions and paleo-environment. This paper is to assess the relationship between the cereals cultivated in the Late Neolithic age and within the area of the upper Ying River, and their environmental settings. The various charred grains of cereal species represented in the archaeobotanical assemblages from the Wangchenggang site, especially in the proportion of millet, glutinous millet and wheat. The cereal assemblages were discussed regarding site altitude, weather conditions, soil sand soil productivity. The most important environmental variable influencing the choice of a particular crop seemed to be altitude which is correlated with other variables such as the length of growing season, mean annual temperature, soil quality etc. Although the ecological requirements of cereals cultivated in the late Neolithic ages are not known, they presumably thrived under similar conditions to present-day species/varieties, and the strategy of past crop husbandry was based on similar principles as today, e.g. flexible adaptation to local environmental conditions, in an effort to achieve optimal yields and maintain social sustainability.
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Author(s): Wu Guoxi Li Zhongxuan and Luo Yalin
charred grains, environmental change, diversification of ancient agriculture, the upper Ying River, Agricultural Diversification