Archaeologists have tended to assume a rather direct link between the origins of pottery and sedentary farmers but it is now clear that the world’s earliest pottery was made by hunter-gatherers in East Asia, including Japan.

When pottery first appeared in Japan (c. 16,200 cal BP) vegetation ranged from sub-Arctic tundra in the north to broad-leaf evergreen forest in the south. Pottery appeared almost simultaneously across the islands despite their very different environments.

This project (funding from the British Academy) investigates diversity in early pottery production, use and exchange along a north-south ecological transect during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene.

Research focuses on two distinct zones, central Honshu and Kyushu, but also incorporates data from Hokkaido derived from the Pottery Dispersals in Northeast Asia Project

(PI: Dr. Peter Jordan).