Beijing, Feb 19 (PTI) People in China ate rice as far back as 7,400 years ago, researchers said, citing new archaeological discoveries. Also Read - Woman Beats Boss With Mop After He Sent Her Lewd Texts, Hailed As a Hero For Standing Up to Him | Watch

Three carbonised rice grains have been identified at the Gaomiao relics site in a village near Hongjiang in the country’s central Hunan province. Also Read - Japan's Ketchup Producer Stops Xinjiang Tomato Imports Over Rights Abuse

The grains were discovered in a stratum that dates back as early as 7,400 years ago, and a starch granule were also found on the millstone from the same time, said He Gang, a researcher with the Hunan Institute of Archaeology. Also Read - Dinosaur Dance Floor Unearthed: Newly-Found Dinosaur Footprints Seen at Excavation Site in China

“Rice had become a major food source for local residents. We believe it is the earliest rice cultural remains known in western Hunan,” he told the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The Gaomiao relics site was found in 1986.

Three archaeological excavations were carried out in 1991, 2004 and 2005.

A large amount of freshwater snails, shells, bones of dozens of animals including deer, pigs, cattle, bears, elephants and rhinoceros were excavated along with China’s oldest white pottery, decorated with the patterns of phoenix and eight-pointed stars, the report added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.