Lets’s start by listing the known dates and locations… (source)
- Fukui Cave, Japan (Jomon), calibrated at 13,900 BC to 12,300 BC.
- Gaysia site, Amur river, Russia, calibrated at 14,050 to 13,200 BC.
- Khummi site, Amur river, Russia, calibrated at 14,300 to 13,650 BC.
- Odai Yamamoto 1 site, Japan, calibrated at 14,900 to 14,250 BC.
- Ust-Karenga , nearer lake Baikal, calibrated at 11,800 to 10,500 BC.
This makes the oldest Jomon pottery now about 16,500 years old, Russian 16,000 years old
Given the distribution pattern of the pottery, i’d say it spread along the river pretty quickly. The Russian sites are in the Osipovka complex, and further west at the Ust-Karenga complex.
The Wavy Line and the Dotted Wavy Line Pottery in the Prehistory of the Central Nile and the Sahara-Sahel Belt
Abbas S. Mohammed-Ali1;2 and Abdel-Rahim M. Khabir1
The two type-sites of the Khartoum Mesolithic and Khartoum Neolithic (Khartoum Hospital and Shaheinab), in Central Sudan, were excavated at the end of the 1950s. The ceramics recovered from these sites, characterized by wavy line and dotted wavy line decoration, formed a cornerstone for identifying Mesolithic–Neolithic components along the Central Nile and across the Sahara-Sahel Belt. Moreover, they formed a model for an evolutionary sequence, and suggested a level of cultural uniformity for the Nilo-Sahara-Sahel Belt from the eighth to the fourth millennia BC. This paper examines these and other related issues.
AKA, a very long and dull item on very early ceramics in Africa. But useful if you are interested.
The earliest (if based on little iffy sediment dating) date on African pottery is 11,500 years old in Mali. Found at Ounjougou. Most of it matches about 9,500 BP. There’s an Iranian pot dated to 10,000 BP, so the exact location of discovery is a bit unclear as yet, as you see it in Iran before Nubia, making the North African coast a better bet for the initial discovery. It’s possible European pottery came in from Russia, as that is showing some very old dates for pottery at Amur River . Ceramics in the Far East and Russia seem to predate anything in Africa and the near East.
Another interesting article on Saharan pottery, with some population information thrown in.
The worlds oldest ceramic object, the Venus of Dolni Vestonice, from the Czech Republic, 26,000 years old.
Makes you wonder why the Cro Magnon Czechs didn’t think to make little pots from it. Although Europe was technically aceramic until about 8,000 years ago, ceramic statues are occasionally seen from the Paleolithic until the Neolithic. They just didn’t make pots out of it.
The world oldest known ceramic pots, Jomon, about 16,500 years old. Found In cave in Japan. Pottery along the Amur river in Russia has a similar age.
This piece ofgrey-blue Iranian pottery is 10,000 years old. It is discovered in Ganj Dareh (Valley of Treasure), a district of Kermanshah province, west of Iran
These potsherds from Mali that are about claimed to be 11,500 years . But, the date on the Malinese pots are a little suspicious, as they were dated from the sediments, not by thermo-luminesence or carbon dating. Still, it does seem North Africa/the Saharan people discovered pottery independently. It seems possible the Europeans picked it up pot making from the East of them and not Africa, as the pottery traditions are quite different to North African ones in the Earliest European sites.
There’s a bit of a controversy over some objects pulled out of the ocean floor off the coast of India, in the Bay of Cambay (aka Khambat). When dated, these apparent potsherds date back to about 30,000 years ago, making them the oldest ceramics ever. They are arguing over these pieces as we speak, claiming they could be natural ‘geofacts’ instead of artifacts. I think they look real, as they are a different colour to the natural sediments, but only time will tell.