Journal of World Prehistory

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 73–110 | Cite as

The Emergence of Early Pottery in East Asia: New Discoveries and Perspectives

  • Lixin Wang
  • Pauline SebillaudEmail author


The appearance of the oldest pottery in the world is a major focus of Early Neolithic archaeology. So far, most discoveries of early pottery have occurred in South China, North China, the Russian Far East, Japan and Korea. The discovery of very thick, low-fired, fibre-tempered pottery dated from around 10,000 BP at the Houtaomuga Site, in Jilin Province, fills an important gap in the distribution of early pottery in northeast China. Based on multi-disciplinary research and an important series of dates, this article establishes the chronology of the early pottery remains discovered at the Houtaomuga Site and their morphological and technical characteristics, and sheds light on their function. Finally, the authors compare them to the other early pottery sherds discovered in the surrounding region, and throughout East Asia, in order to discuss the significance of this discovery and its implications for the subsistence mode developed in the northwest of the Jilin Province at the very beginning of the Neolithic.


Early Neolithic Pottery Chronology Northeast China Northeast Asia 



This research was made possible with the support of the grants from the Social Science Foundation of the Chinese Government (No. 15ZDB055) and the Houtaomuga research project (No. 357121741444). This research is also part of the research project on ‘Settlement distribution on the longue durée in the Jilin Province’ (Jilin University, No. 450060522161). We are also grateful for the advice of Elisabeth Berger (University of Michigan) and James Williams (Renmin University, China) on the editing of this article, and to Peter Hommel for his remarks and information about Russian sites.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center on Chinese Frontier ArchaeologyJilin UniversityChangchun CityChina
  2. 2.CNRS, East Asian Civilisations Research Centre - CRCAO UMR 8155ParisFrance

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