Reassessing the concept of the ‘Neolithic’ in the Jomon of Western Japan

  • Simon Kaner Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures
  • Takeshi Ishikawa Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures
Keywords: Jomon, Western Japan, Jomon-Yayoi transition, AMS dating, Amida, Kaminabe, Shorakuji

Abstract

The concept of the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition is difficult to apply in the Japanese archipelago. The earliest pottery usage occurs in late Palaeolithic contexts. Holocene foragers lived in stable, permanent village settlements and constructed large scale monuments, and the first real ‘agriculture’ arrived as part of a cultural package which also included metallurgy. This paper will examine the use of the term ‘Neolithic’ in the history of Japanese archaeology, with particular emphasis on what happened in the western part of the archipelago in the latter part of the Jomon period (c. 5000 BC – c. 500 BC). Recent investigations in Kyushu and Western Honshu are leading to a re-assessment of the nature of Jomon culture and society in this region, traditionally considered to have ‘lagged behind’ the more developed societies of the eastern part of the archipelago, expressed in part through much lower population densities.

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Published
2007-12-31
How to Cite
Kaner, S., & Ishikawa, T. (2007). Reassessing the concept of the ‘Neolithic’ in the Jomon of Western Japan. Documenta Praehistorica, 34, 1-7. https://doi.org/10.4312/dp.34.1
Section
Articles