7,400-year-old rice grains discovered in Hunan Province
New archaeological discoveries show that people in central China were already eating rice more than 7,000 years ago.
Three carbonized rice grains have been identified at the Gaomiao relics site in a village near Hongjiang in central China's Hunan Province.
The grains were discovered in a stratum that dates back as early as 7,400 years ago, and a starch granule were also found on the millstone from the same time, said He Gang, a researcher with the Hunan Institute of Archaeology.
"Rice had become a major food source for local residents. We believe it is the earliest rice cultural remains known in western Hunan," He said.
The Gaomiao relics site was found in 1986. Three archaeological excavations were carried out in 1991, 2004, and 2005. A large amount of freshwater snails, shells, bones of dozens of animals including deer, pigs, cattle, bears, elephants, and rhinoceros were excavated, along with China's oldest white pottery, decorated with the patterns of phoenix and eight-pointed stars.