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Dating and Stable Isotope Analysis of Charred Residues on the Incipient Jomon Pottery (Japan)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016

Kunio Yoshida*
The University Museum, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Dai Kunikita
Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Tokoro Research Lab., The University of Tokyo, 384 Sakaeura, Tokoro-cho, Kitami-shi, Hokkaido 093-0216, Japan
Yumiko Miyazaki
The University Museum, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Yasutami Nishida
Niigata Prefectual Museum of History, Sekihara 1, Nagaoka, Niigata 940-2035, Japan
Toru Miyao
Niigata Prefectual Museum of History, Sekihara 1, Nagaoka, Niigata 940-2035, Japan
Hiroyuki Matsuzaki
School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 2-11-16 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan
2Corresponding author. Email:


This study reports radiocarbon dates of more than 30 samples of charred residues on pottery sherds of the Incipient Jomon period. The ages of Linear-relief (Ryukisenmon) pottery were 15,300–13,700 cal BP, with great differences among the samples. The pitted decoration (Enkomon), Nail-impressed (Tsumegatamon), and pressing and dragging (Oshibikimon) types date to 13,800–12,400 cal BP. For pottery of the same type, differences among sites were large. At the Unokiminami site, the impressed cord mark (Oatsu Jomon) is the main pottery type, including Nail-impressed. The latter shows a slightly older age. Stable isotope and elemental analyses were used to ascertain the origin of charred residues on the pottery. In the data set of Jomon pottery of the oldest type, residues consisting only of cooked nuts were found. However, Jomon people, even from early times, are thought to have cooked mixed plant and animal ingredients, including marine products.

Archaeology of Eurasia and Africa
Copyright © 2013 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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