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Art & Literature Throughout the Ages - Original

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Dawn Moline
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« on: April 15, 2008, 01:30:07 am »

Next we have Japan:

The Jomon period (縄文時代, Jōmon-jidai?) is the time in Japanese pre-history from about 10,000 BC to 300 BC.

Most scholars agree that by around 40,000 BC glaciation had connected the Japanese islands with the Asian mainland. Based on archaeological evidence, between 35,000 BC and 30,000 BC Homo sapiens had migrated to the islands from eastern and southeastern Asia and had well-established patterns of hunting and gathering and stone toolmaking. Stone tools, inhabitation sites, and human fossils from this period have been found throughout all the islands of Japan. Additionally, a 1988 genetic study points to an East Asian base for the Japanese peoples. [1]

The term "Jomon" is a translation into Japanese of the English term "cord-marked". This refers to the markings made on clay vessels and figures using sticks with cords wrapped around them.

Incipient and Initial Jomon (10000 - 4000 BC)
More stable living patterns gave rise by around 10,000 BC to a Mesolithic or, as some scholars argue, Neolithic culture. Possibly distant ancestors of the Ainu aboriginal people of modern Japan, members of the heterogeneous Jomon culture (c. 10,000-300 BC) left the clearest archeological record. The culture was roughly contemporaneous with civilizations in Mesopotamia, the Nile, and the Indus Valley.


Early pottery

Incipient Jomon pottery (10,000-8,000 BC) Tokyo National Museum, Japan.According to archaeological evidence, the Jomon people may have created the first known pottery vessels in the world, dated to the 11th millennium BC [2] , as well as the earliest ground stone tools. The antiquity of this pottery was first identified after the Second World War, through radiocarbon dating methods [3]. However, some Japanese scholars also believe that pottery production technology was first invented on the mainland because of sites in China and Russia that have produced pottery "which may be as old, if not older, than ***ui Cave pottery" [4]. The Jomon people were making clay figures and vessels decorated with patterns of a growing sophistication made by impressing the wet clay with braided or unbraided cord and sticks.

Neolithic traits

The manufacture of pottery typically implies some form of sedentary life, since pottery is highly breakable and thus is useless to hunter-gatherers who are constantly on the move. Therefore, the Jomon were probably some of the earliest sedentary or at least semi-sedentary people in the world. They used chipped stone tools, ground stone tools, traps, and bows, and were probably semi-sedentary hunters-gatherers and skillful coastal and deep-water fishermen. They practised a rudimentary form of agriculture and lived in caves and later in groups of either temporary shallow pit dwellings or above-ground houses, leaving rich kitchen middens for modern anthropological study. Because of this, the earliest forms of farming are sometimes attributed to Japan (Ingpen & Wilkinson) in 10,000 BC, two thousand years before their widespread appearance in the Middle East. However, some archaeological evidence also suggests early experiments with agriculture in the hills and valleys of the Fertile Crescent in modern Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq around 11,000 BC. [5].


Population expansion

This semi-sedentary culture led to important population increases, so that the Jomon exhibit some of the highest densities known for foraging populations [6]. Genetic mapping studies by Cavalli-Sforza have shown a pattern of genetic expansion from the area of the Sea of Japan towards the rest of eastern Asia. This appears as the third most important genetic movement in Eastern Asia (after the "Great expansion" from the African continent, and a second expansion from the area of Northern Siberia), which suggests geographical expansion during the early Jomon period [7]. These studies also suggest that the Jomon demographic expansion may have reached America along a path following the Pacific coast [8].

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jomon

[ 07-22-2006, 11:12 PM: Message edited by: Dawn Moline ]
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