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Sedentism, pottery and inland fishing in Late Glacial Japan: a reassessment of the Maedakochi site

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 November 2019

Kazuki Morisaki*
Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, 3-2-2, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo100-8959, Japan
Noriyoshi Oda
Tokyo Metropolitan Archaeological Center, 1-14-2, Ochiai, Tama-City, Tokyo206-0033, Japan
Dai Kunikita
Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo113-0033, Japan
Yuka Sasaki
Center for Obsidian and Lithic Studies, Meiji University, Kanda-sarugaku-cho 1-6-3, Chiyoda, Tokyo101-0064, Japan
Yasuko Kuronuma
Paleo Labo Co., Ltd., Shimomae 1-13-22, Toda, Saitama335-0016, Japan
Akira Iwase
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Tokyo Metropolitan University, 1-1 Minami-Osawa, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo192-0397, Japan
Takeshi Yamazaki
Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, 2-9-1, Nijo-cho, Nara City, Nara630-8577, Japan
Naoichiro Ichida
Tokyo Metropolitan Archaeological Center, 1-14-2, Ochiai, Tama-City, Tokyo206-0033, Japan
Hiroyuki Sato
Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Letters, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo113-0033, Japan
*Author for correspondence (Email:


The Palaeolithic–Neolithic transition in East Asia is characterised by the transformation of mobile hunter-gatherer groups into sedentary communities. The existence of ‘ice-age’ pottery in the Japanese archipelago, however, is inconsistent with claims that directly link climatic warming with sedentism and the development of ceramics. Here, the authors reconsider the chronology and palaeoenvironment of the Maedakochi site in Tokyo. New AMS dating and environmental data suggest that intensified inland fishing in cold environments, immediately prior to the Late Glacial warm period, created conditions conducive to sedentism and the development of subsistence-related pottery.

Antiquity , Volume 93 , Issue 372 , December 2019 , pp. 1442 - 1459
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2019

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