Yayoi period rice grains unearthed from the Akitsu archaeological site Courtesy of Nara Prefectural Archeological Institute of Kashihara
January 21, 2014 The Yomiuri Shimbun (Retrieved on the dame date
NARA—Eleven grains of brown rice believed to date back to the early Yayoi period, around 2,600 to 2,400 years ago, were found at the location of a former paddy in the Akitsu archaeological site in Goze, Nara Prefecture.
Due to the well-preserved condition of the grains, they were expected to provide clues about the rice cultivated by ancient people of the period, according to experts.
Kyoto University Prof. Tatsuya Inamura, an expert on plant production systems, revealed the discovery at a research meeting of Nara Prefecture’s Archaeological Institute of Kashihara on Jan. 12.
The rice grains, which were first excavated in November, were brown and about four millimeters in length. The rice did not have husks. The grains are believed to have been so well-preserved because they were sealed in mud with high water content and were not exposed to air. It is rare to discover rice from the Yayoi period that has not undergone carbonization, according to Inamura.
Inamura intends to work in cooperation with the institute, using DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating to identify the ancient rice’s variety and gather other information.