Latest research by the University of Cambridge suggests that millet may have been the world's first Chinese takeaway 7,000 years ago.
In a paper published this week, archaeologists from the University of Cambridge reveal that the cultivation of broomcorn millet may have spread to the West after beginning in early Chinese farms.
The transition from gathering food in the wild to producing it on farms was the greatest revolution in human ecological history. Until relatively recently, pre-historians believed that it began in the Fertile Crescent of the Near East, between 12,000 and 7,000 years ago. Early communities there began to produce the so-called "founder crops" such as wheat and barley.
More recently, it has become clear that early Chinese communities domesticated their own grains, such as rice and millet, independently of any Western influence. Until now, however, no evidence had emerged of such methods spreading from China to the West.
Writing in the journal Science under the title Origins of Agriculture in East Asia, Professor Martin Jones and research colleague Liu Xinyi put together evidence from a number of recent excavations (including their own) to suggest that millet may have made precisely that journey.