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Farming and multi-resource subsistence in the third and second millennium BC: archaeobotanical evidence from Karuo

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Tang,  Li
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Song, J., Gao, Y., Tang, L., Zhang, Z., Hayashi Tang, M., Xu, H., et al. (2021). Farming and multi-resource subsistence in the third and second millennium BC: archaeobotanical evidence from Karuo. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 13(3): 47. doi:10.1007/s12520-021-01281-9.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-0D93-4
Abstract
Over the past years, archaeobotanical studies have clarified much of the process of dispersal and adaptation of crops across Asia. However, the development of farming systems that could function in the high-altitude environments of Tibet requires more in-depth consideration. In this article, we present the results of the systematic archaeobotanical investigation at Karuo, a third millennium BC site in eastern Tibet. We argue that millet cultivation was possibly practiced at the site and that it was likely an important aspect of the economy from 2700 to 2100 cal. BC. The role of millet in the cultivation system might have declined after the mid-second millennium BC, during which time wheat—a grain originating in southwest Asia—appeared at the site. In addition to farming, evidence of foraging, hunting, and fishing are present suggesting a diverse subsistence strategy. The diversification of human diets may have contributed to the long-term occupation of the site. Taking a broad regional perspective into account, the diverse spectrum of subsistence strategy engaged by Karuo people provides new insights into the understanding of early lifeways on the Tibetan Plateau.