The early chronology of broomcorn millet
(Panicum miliaceum) in Europe.
The findings push back the dates of the two crops' first appearance in Central Asia, suggesting that the herders transported bread wheat from west to east and broomcorn millet from east to west.
An absence of broomcorn millet at nearby farming villages suggests that herders cultivated that crop, and perhaps others, about 600 years before previous evidence of farming in Central Asia.
2000-1000 BC: modelling journeys to the Marianas (Fitzpatrick); Mycenaean influences in Nordic razors (Kaul); an Akhenaten-era cemetery at Amarna (Kemp); dating broomcorn millet
in Europe (Motuzaite-Matuzeviciute);
In their review of records of the millet genera Panicurn and Setaria across Eurasia dating to before 5000 BC, Hunt et al (2008) highlighted the interesting and unusual pattern of the earliest records of broomcorn millet.
Also in relation to the archaeobotany, the validity of the early broomcorn millet chronology in Europe has been recently called into question by Boivin et al.
A parallel may be suggested with the westward movement of broomcorn millet
from China, which appears to have been associated with its ritual value amongst steppe pastoralists (Frachetti et al 2010).
Recent studies in eastern Asia at the site of Cishan in north-eastern China document the cultivation of broomcorn millet as early as 8000 cal BC between the Loess Plateau and the North China Plain (Crawford 2009; Lu et al.
At Begash, carbonised seeds of broomcorn millet and wheat were recovered through systematic flotation of soils from a cremation burial cist and from an associated funerary fire-pit.
While the presence of rice in the Houli culture has been the main focus of attention, the finding of broomcorn millet here also throws new light on the map of early millet communities in North China (Crawford et al.
Prior to recent archaeobotanical developments in Inner Mongolia (see below), the presence of broomcorn millet in the Xinle culture was treated as an isolated case, and its relationship to other centres remained unclear.
Foxtail and broomcorn millet, legumes, barley, wheat, and beefsteak plant remains have all been recovered from Early and Middle Mumun houses and hearths near the dry fields.
Foxtail and broomcorn millet, and rice, all domesticated in China, were of some significance there by 7000-6000 cal.
Rice [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 4 OMITTED], foxtail millet and broomcorn millet total 15 grains (TABLE 2).
Broomcorn millet, known in Ezo-Haji contexts in southwestern Hokkaido, has not been previously identified in 3rd-millennium BP contexts in Japan (Crawford 1992a).