Beyond Rice: Investigations into Southeast Asian Food Culture

1Institute of Archaeology, University College London

2School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University

Current research into plant remains in pre-modern Southeast Asia focuses on rice. Evidence so far shows that rice has been the most important cereal in mainland Southeast Asia since the second millennium BC. It has been identified in multiple sites across both the mainland and the islands illuminating changes in cultivation systems, food surplus and use in ritual. It is a cereal that preserves well, compared to other economic crops and it has been cited for its role in demographic expansion and state formation, and now more recently, climate change. However, now that we have a better understanding of the history of rice in Southeast Asia through archaeobotanical, genetic and historical studies, we need to look into other crops which were consumed, cultivated and gathered by the different populations across Southeast Asia. This session will provide a platform for discussions of plants other than rice which form part of the Southeast Asian food culture.