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Late first millennium BC to second millennium AD agriculture in Nagaland: a reconstruction based on archaeobotanical evidence and radiocarbon dates

Late first millennium BC to second millennium AD agriculture in Nagaland: a reconstruction based on archaeobotanical evidence and radiocarbon dates

Current Science 104(10): 1341-1353

ISSN/ISBN: 0011-3891

We present here the results of a study of plant macro-remains in the archaeological lexicon from six sites in Nagaland, NE India dated between late first millennium BC to second millennium AD as obtained by radiocarbon dating of wood charcoal. The excavations at these sites were conducted between 2008 and 2010 jointly by the Department of Art and Culture, Government of Nagaland and the Anthropological Society of Nagaland. Analysis of 46 samples indicates that the likely staple foodgrains were Oryza sp. (cf. officinalis, rufipogon, sativa), Setaria sp. and Echinochloa sp. However, at some sites there is evidence of indigenous Paspalum scrobiculatum, Vigna sp. (cf. radiata, cf. aconitifolia) and Macrotyloma uniflorum in addition to rice millet cultivation/collection. Crops of the Near East (Triticum aestivum, Hordeum vulgare, Lathyrus sativus) and Vigna unguiculata of African origin have also been recorded. In addition, there is evidence for cotton (Gossypium sp.) as well as economically important fruits/seeds of Ziziphus sp., Emblica officinalis, Coix sp., Bombax sp. and Zanthoxyllum sp.

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Accession: 066272678

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