Later Jomon Subsistence in Northeastern Japan: New Evidence from Palaeoethnobotanical Studies

D'Andrea, A Catherine
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University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
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This paper discusses prehistoric subsistence and the development of plant husbandry in northeastern Tohoku (northern Honshu). Archaeobotanical sampling was carried out at two sites in eastern Aomori Prefecture. Tominosawa is a Middle Jomon village site which produced a spectrum of nut and weedy plant species similar to that recovered from contemporary sites in southwestern Hokkaido. At the Kazahari site, pithouses from two phases of occupation were sampled for archaeobotanical remains: Tokoshinai IV (c. 1000 B.C.) and Fukurashima (c. 150 B.C.). The pithouse deposits produced evidence for Late Jomon rice, foxtail millet, and broomcorn millet dating to the first millennium B.C. Sampling of later Fukurashima contexts produced evidence of rice, foxtail and broomcorn millet, Japanese barnyard millet, and hemp. These data demonstrate that rice and millets have been present in northeastern Tohoku since c. 1000 B.C., and that farming systems were in place during later Fukurashima occupations. Ecological and ethnographic evidence is used to postulate that plant husbandry was possible in the area during Tokoshinai IV. It is concluded that the northward dispersal of rice was more rapid than was previously thought, and consequently that this movement may not have been greatly affected by cultural and ecological constraints. In addition, rice cultivation dispersed into northeastern Japan independently of wet-paddy technology. KEYWORDS: Japan, Tohoku, Jomon, subsistence, cultivation.
Japan, Tohoku, Jomon, subsistence, cultivation
D'Andrea, A. C. 1995. Later Jomon Subsistence in Northeastern Japan: New Evidence from Palaeoethnobotanical Studies. Asian Perspectives 34 (2): 195-227.
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