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High seas may have led migrants to Taiwan

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Honolulu (UPI) Apr 1, 2011
Rising seas in China thousands of years ago may have turned rice farmers into ancient mariners and led to human settlement on Taiwan, U.S. researchers say.

Archaeologists at the University of Hawaii say 9,000 years ago, when rice farming was the dominant activity in other areas of China, the Fuzhou Basin in the southeast of the country started to be inundated by rising sea levels. That meant marshes used as rice paddies disappeared, leaving only the area's mountain tops above water as islands, reported Friday.

Small settlements took to the newly formed islands and a nautical society slowly developed using canoes and rafts for fishing, University of Hawaii archaeologist Barry Rolett said.

A growing maritime expertise made possible the 80-mile sea voyage to Taiwan where farming villages began to be established 5,000 years ago, Rollet theorizes.

The study by Rolett and his colleagues is published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.

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