10,000 year old rice from Shangshan remains, China

Shangshan Remains – Remains of Ten Thousand Year Old Rice

The Shangshan site at Huangzhai township’s Qunan Village, located in Pujiang County and under Zhejiang Province’s Jinhua city, is one of the earliest Neolithic Age ruins that has been discovered in China to date.

One of the significant archaeological breakthrough occurred at the site: the discovery of the remains of cultivated rice dating back ten thousand years proves that the downstream area of the Changjiang River, where the Shangshan site is located, is one of the earliest places in the world where grain cultivation was a way of life.

From 2001 to 2004, the Cultural Relics Archaeological Research Institute of Zhejiang and the Pujiang County Museum carried out two archaeological excavations that covered an area of more than 700 square meters on the Shangshan site.

The excavations unearthed a series of coal ceramic samples which were mostly red coal pottery that were in small quantity, of loose quality, like low-fire types and in simple shapes and forms.

A small amount of polished stone adzes and stone axes were also discovered, of which the stone mill and grinding stick had many unique features, reflecting the economic mode of life that is closely associated with the earliest culture of grain cultivation.

The Wenbo Academy of Beijing University carried out tests on the samples. They discovered several traces of cultivated rice on the surface of the coal pottery as well as in the earth around the pottery.

The observations of the structures of these cultivated rice husks in the pottery pieces showed that the grains were shorter but wider than wild grains, and were cultivated rice that had been selected by human beings from the early civilization.

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On the night of Torch Festival, the Bai and Naxi nationalities living at the foot of Wufeng Mountain adjacent to Heqing and Lijiang will hold the fire-playing activity. They will tie red flowers in clusters or bundles on trees all around the village to symbolize that the flowers and trees are as red as fire. When the first star appears in the sky, everyone will hold a lighted torch, singing and dancing around the decorated trees.

The Huangping Township is a tropical land in Heqing County full of rich and popular products. It’s said that residents here are offspring of Kong Ming and Meng Huo’s army and the fertile land was reclaimed during the alignment of the two. Ever since the night of the 24th of the sixth lunar month, when the army lighted up fires for night fight and sowed seeds for the first time on the land, the barren field thus became fertile land. Later, in order to remember this day the later generations here usually light up torches and sow spring crops at night, when the young people will sow in the fields, with the elders and children singing and dancing around with torches in hand. As an integration of labor activities and folk custom, it is both interesting and unique

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