Department of Anthropology

Millets and Their Role in Early Agriculture

Weber SA and Fuller DQ 2007. Millets and Their Role in Early Agriculture. Pragdhara.

While the importance of such large grained cereal crops as wheat, corn and rice to the beginnings of agriculture are well understood, a small group of small-seeded grasses known as millets are often marginalized or ignored. When millets are incorporated into early farming models they are generally seen as a minor grain crop playing a secondary role in the agricultural strategy. Millets have been recovered from archaeological sites throughout the globe, yet rarely are they found in large numbers or perceived as a primary food source. This paper explores the occurrence of early millets in the archaeobotanical record and demonstrates how millets need to be better incorporated into interpretive models regarding early agriculture.

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