IBTimes UK

Archaeologists in China may have discovered what appears to be the earliest paddy fields in the world. The field dates back to more than 8,000 years ago, researchers said.

The field, which measures less than 100sq metre in area, is located at the neolithic ruins of Hanjing in Sihong county in east China's Jiangsu province. The site was discovered in November 2015, according to the archaeology institute of Nanjing Museum.

After months of research, archaeologists have concluded that the wet rice field is the earliest ever discovered in the world, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Carbon dating of the remains of rice grains found at the field suggest that they were grown more than 8,000 years ago, the researchers said. The soil in the field appeared to have repeatedly been planted with rice.

Lin Liugen, head of the archaeology institute, said that the findings would throw new lights on research on the origin of rice farming in China where some of the earliest evidences of rice fields have been found.

Carbon dating has earlier suggested that Chinese started to cultivate rice about 10,000 years ago, he said, adding that finding of remains of paddy field was very rare in the region.

According to researchers, the paddy field field was apparently divided into ten parts, each varying in shape and having less than 10sq metre area. Up to ten parts of the ancient field have been excavated so far.