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Dating Charred Remains on Pottery and Analyzing Food Habits in the Early Neolithic Period in Northeast Asia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016

Dai Kunikita*
Faculty of Letters, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Igor Shevkomud
Museum of Archaeology, Khabarovsk Regional Museum after NI Grodekov, 86 Turgeneva St., Khabarovsk 680000, Russia
Kunio Yoshida
University Museum, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Shizuo Onuki
Faculty of Letters, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Toshiro Yamahara
Obihiro Centennial City Museum, 2 Midorigaoka, Obihiro-shi Hokkaido 080-0846, 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 reconstructs food habits through carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis, and C/N analysis of charred residues inside pottery from Amur River sites in Russia (Goncharka 1 site, Novotroitskoe 10 site, Kondon 1 site) and in Hokkaido, Japan (Taisho 3 site, Yachiyo A site). We obtained dates from 12,330 to 7920 BP for these sites. There are major differences in the carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios between the Taisho 3 site (δ13C: -21.7 to -24.1; δ15N: 11.9–14.7%) and the other sites (δ13C:-22.0 to -27.1%; δ15N: 7.1–13.1%), suggesting that the people of the Taisho 3 site made use of anadromous fish such as salmonids and some species of trout, as well as marine resources. The dates from the other sites except Taisho 3 were assumed to be from a mixture of marine foods, C3 plants and terrestrial animals, and freshwater fish. The food boiled in the pots also indicated a high dependence on marine resources during the initial stages of the emergence of pottery.

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

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