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Durham University

Department of Geography

News Archive

Making a paddy field out of a swamp around 7,700 years ago

(28 September 2007)

Researchers from Durham University's Department of Geography and scholars from two Chinese universities show how early farmers in eastern China used fire and flood control to manage coastal swamps and turn them into the first known rice paddy fields. In a report published in this week's issue of Nature, they provide a detailed insight into this Neolithic rice cultivation system, showing how wet rice culture is of far greater antiquity than previously thought.