A modern day Ainu man, descended from the Jomon. Every DNA study of these people groups thm with Asians, even though they have a very Caucasian skull shape. It seems that the Jomon made it into the Americas (Spirit Cave man and Kennewick man). Their skin is somewhat lighter than the Yayoi Japanese, they have a lot more body hair, and sometimes they are described as having blue or grey eyes, and lighter hair than is normal in Japan. Many of them lack the oriental eye fold. That’s defiinitely one for a DNA population study to sort out. According to Cavalli -Sforza, the current DNA profile of Japan is about 10-20% Jomon. A modern study of Samurai skulls suggests that this was higher in the ruling classes. To me, that suggests the Korean Yayoi didn’t invade and take over, but they moved in with them relatively amicably. The standard invasion/genocide pattern you see in population DNA is the native DNA being in the underclass, with little of the Y chromosome surviving. It seems the Jomon didn’t get wiped out, they intermarried.
The morphology of the Jomon teeth does suggest that Jomons followed the coastal route up into Japan, and are descended from the same ancestral line as Melanesians and Aboriniges, not of Mongoloid descent. The first stone tools are found in Japan from about 35,000 years ago. Studies of thier teeth also suggest the were farming some sort of starchy plant like taro, as they had too high a level of dental caries to be accounted for by hunter gathering.
Early twentieth century picture of the Ainu.
Japanese polished hand axes from 30,000BC, Tokyo museum.
The Jomon period, which encompasses a great expanse of time, constitutes Japan’s Neolithic period. Its name is derived from the “cord markings” that characterize the ceramics made during this time. Jomon people were semi-sedentary, living mostly in pit dwellings arranged around central open spaces, and obtained their food by gathering, fishing, and hunting. While the many excavations of Jomon sites have added to our knowledge of specific artifacts, they have not helped to resolve certain fundamental questions concerning the people of the protoliterate era, such as their ethnic classification and the origin of their language.All Jomon pots were made by hand, without the aid of a wheel, the potter building up the vessel from the bottom with coil upon coil of soft clay. As in all other Neolithic cultures, women produced these early potteries. The clay was mixed with a variety of adhesive materials, including mica, lead, fibers, and crushed shells. After the vessel was formed, tools were employed to smooth both the outer and interior surfaces. When completely dry, it was fired in an outdoor bonfire at a temperature of no more than about 900¡ C.Because the Jomon period lasted so long and is so culturally diverse, historians and archaeologists often divide it into the following phases:
Incipient Jomon (ca. 13,000–8000 B.C.). This period marks the transition between Paleolithic and Neolithic ways of life. Archaeological findings indicate that people lived in simple surface dwellings and fed themselves through hunting and gathering. They produced deep pottery cooking containers with pointed bottoms and rudimentary cord markings—among the oldest examples of pottery known in the world.
Incipient Jomon pot.
Initial Jomon (ca. 8000–5000 B.C.).By this period, the gradual climatic warming that had begun around 10,000 B.C. sufficiently raised sea levels, so that the southern islands of Shikoku and Kyushu were separated from the main island of Honshu. The rise in temperature also increased the food supply, which was derived from the sea as well as by hunting animals and gathering plants, fruits, and seeds. Evidence of this diet is found in shell mounds, or ancient refuse heaps. Food and other necessities of life were acquired and processed with the use of stone tools such as grinding rocks, knives, and axes.
Early Jomon (ca. 5000–2500 B.C.).The contents of huge shell mounds show that a high percentage of people’s daily diet continued to come from the oceans. Similarities between pottery produced in Kyushu and contemporary Korea suggest that regular commerce existed between the Japanese islands and Korean peninsula. The inhabitants of the Japanese islands lived in square-shaped pithouses that were clustered in small villages. A variety of handicrafts, including cord-marked earthenware cooking and storage vessels, woven baskets, bone needles, and stone tools, were produced for daily use.
Middle Jomon (ca. 2500–1500 B.C.). This period marked the high point of the Jomon culture in terms of increased population and production of handicrafts. The warming climate peaked in temperature during this era, causing a movement of communities into the mountain regions. Refuse heaps indicate that the people were sedentary for longer periods and lived in larger communities; they fished, hunted animals such as deer, bear, rabbit, and duck, and gathered nuts, berries, mushrooms, and parsley. Early attempts at plant cultivation may date to this period. The increased production of female figurines and phallic images of stone, as well as the practice of burying the deceased in shell mounds, suggest a rise in ritual practices.
Final Jomon (ca. 1000–300 B.C.).As the climate cooled and food became less abundant, the population declined dramatically. Because people were assembled in smaller groups, regional differences became more pronounced. As part of the transition to the Yayoi culture, it is believed that domesticated rice, grown in dry beds or swamps, was introduced into Japan at this time.
Jomon skulls from Hokkaido
A recreation of a Jomon house.
Just some storage for Jomon stuff.
The Jomon culture of Japan (14,000-2500 bp) is characterized by exceptionally dense and sedentary populations of hunters, fishers and gatherers. Various arguments have been put forward in favour of Jomon agriculture; it is argued here that such arguments are persuasive only if they are based on actual remains of the plants themselves. Recent excavations of wetland sites such as Awazu and Torihama have produced a range of herbaceous plants that were most probably cultivated, and the arboriculture of chestnut and other tree species is also likely. However, many archaeologists think that this cultivation remained on a small scale throughout the Jomon period, and that it was integrated into the predominantly foraging economy rather than precipitating a change to a socioeconomic system based on agriculture. Only in the Yayoi period after c . 2500 bp did agriculture become economically predominant, probably as the result of major immigration of wet-rice-cultivating groups from the Korean peninsula or China.
Keywords: Jomon; paleoethnobotany; plant remains; cultivation; wetland archaeology; yam
Document Type: Research article
Affiliations: 1: Environmental Archaeology, Kyoto University, Japan 2: Environmental Archaeology, University of Education, Japan
Dental anthropological indications of agriculture among the Jomon people of central Japan. X. Peopling of the Pacific
Christy G. Turner II
Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85281
This paper is the tenth of a planned series on dental anthropology of the Pacific basin and adjoining areas. The purpose of the series is to develop the use of dental polymorphisms as aids to understanding Pacific, New World, and Asian population origins, formation, and micro-evolution. Most previous papers in this series are identified in Turner and Swindler (’78).
Dentition • Dental anthropology • Asian agriculture • Oral pathology • Japanese
The high rate of crown caries (8.6%; 119/1,377 teeth) and other oral pathologies in 101 central Japan Middle to Late Jomon Period (ca. 1000 B.C.) crania indicate a level of carbohydrate consumption consistent with an agriculture hypothesis. Because Jomon dental crown and root morphology shows strong resemblances with past and present Southeast Asians, but not with ancient Chinese or modern Japanese, Jomon agriculture could be of great antiquity in the isolated Japanese islands. These dental data and other assembled facts suggest that ancestral Jomonese might have carried to Japan a cariogenic cultigen such as taro before the end of the Pleistocene from tropical Sundaland by way of the now-submerged east Asian continental shelf.