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Jomon pit-dwellings, sedentism, and food diversity

Author(s): Junko Habu

Year: 2015

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Archaeological data from the prehistoric Jomon period of the Japanese archipelago indicate that, by the middle of the Early Jomon period (ca. 6000 cal. BP), the presence of large settlements with dozens of pit-dwellings became common. Some of these pit-dwellings are quite deep, measuring more than two feet in depth. The residents of these settlements are considered to have been relying primarily on hunting, gathering and fishing. Environmental management may have been an important part of their subsistence strategies. What were the causes, conditions and consequences of the appearance of this type of large settlements with substantial pit-dwellings? Did it affect the resilience and sustainability of Jomon communities? Were these pit-dwellings occupied throughout the year, or were they the houses of seasonally sedentary hunter-gatherers? Was the development of these large settlements related to the emergence of social inequality? The large amount of settlement and subsistence data from the Jomon period provides an excellent opportunity to pursue these questions. Using archaeological data from northeastern Japan, I argue that long-term changes in Jomon subsistence, settlement and society do not fit into the classic, progressivist view of cultural evolution from simple to complex.

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Jomon pit-dwellings, sedentism, and food diversity. Junko Habu. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395496)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America