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Rice As a Prehistoric Valuable in the Mariana Islands, Micronesia

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Title: Rice As a Prehistoric Valuable in the Mariana Islands, Micronesia
Authors: Hunter-Anderson, Rosalind L.
Thompson, Gillian B.
Moore, Darlene R.
Keywords: rice cultivation
Mariana Islands
high prestige
LC Subject Headings: Prehistoric peoples--Asia--Periodicals.
Prehistoric peoples--Oceania--Periodicals.
East Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Issue Date: 1995
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Citation: Hunter-Anderson, R. L., G. B. Thompson, D. R. Moore. 1995. Rice As a Prehistoric Valuable in the Mariana Islands, Micronesia. Asian Perspectives 34 (1): 69-89.
Series/Report no.: Volume 34
Number 1
Abstract: Although historic and linguistic sources indicate that the indigenous Mariana Islanders of Micronesia cultivated rice before initial Western contact in the early 1500s, it is not known when or why rice cultivation was adopted in these islandsthe only case in Remote Oceania. Recent excavations in Guam have confirmed the late prehistoric presence of Oryza sativa L. in rare pottery sherds, and the nature and timing of all the available evidence-from archaeology, palaeoethnobotany, linguistics, and history-suggest a solution to this puzzle. The adaptive significance of rice, a labor-intensive cultigen in comparison with the common Old World tropical staples of Micronesia (yams, taro, bananas, and breadfruit), may have been as a "valuable" in ceremonial exchanges and events that marked the late prehistoric period. The accumulating evidence for late prehistoric rice cultivation in the Marianas is summarized, and an explanation-sketch is offered for the adoption and use of rice as a high-prestige item. KEYWORDS: rice cultivation, Mariana Islands, high prestige.
ISSN: 1535-8283 (E-ISSN)
0066-8435 (Print)
Appears in Collections:Asian Perspectives, 1995 - Volume 34, Number 1 (Spring)

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