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Some problems in the study of Jomon subsistence

  • Richard and Kazue Pearson

The Jomon Period of Japanese prehistory, which extends from the 11th millennium BC to about 300 BC, has been termed ‘Neolithic’ in the tradition of the archaeology of North-eastern Asia since diagnostic artifacts include ceramics and polished stone tools. In more general terms, however, the subsistence pattern may be seen as Mesolithic, with the utilization of shellfish, fish, nuts, and roots. In recent years, Japanese archaeologists have raised the question of the possibility of early cultivation, and this has become one of the main problems in Jomon research. Richard and Kazue Pearson prepared this general survey of problems in Jomon subsistence for the Symposium on Japanese Archaeology held at the 26th Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Boston, 3 April 1974. It was further revised during the tenure of a Research Fellowship of the Japan Foundation, Tokyo, during the summer, 1974, as part of a broader study of prehistory of the broadleaf evergreen forest zones of eastern Asia. Richard Pearson is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Kazue Pearson is co-translator of the English edition of Jeong-hak Kim's book on Korean archaeology (Kankoku no Kokogaku, 1972; Kawade Shobo Press) which will appear in 1978 as the ‘Prehistory of Korea’, from the University Press of Hawaii.

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