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Synthetic Perspective on Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherer Adaptations and Landscape Change in Northern Japan

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Maritime Prehistory of Northeast Asia

Part of the book series: The Archaeology of Asia-Pacific Navigation ((AAPN,volume 6))

Abstract

Arguments pertaining to the peopling of America have long addressed the proposed late Pleistocene human migration from Northeast Asia. In this context, the northern part of the Japanese archipelago has received considerable attention from many international scholars as one of the potential homelands of this migration. This chapter provides an overview of archaeological records dated between 33.0 and 7.0 ka cal BP for the southern Paleo-Sakhalin-Hokkaido-Kuril peninsula (Paleo-SHK: present Hokkaido) and the northernmost Japanese archipelago. These data synthesize adaptive strategies and landscape changes during the transition from the Upper Paleolithic to the Early Jomon time periods in an effort to reconstruct long-term environmental adaptation history. Our results indicate hunter-gatherers in this region first adapted to a dense coniferous forest landscape with stone tool small flake and trapezoidal industries. They then shifted to hunting in open forest and steppe landscapes during the Last Glacial Maximum (30.0–19.0 ka cal BP) with the use of various microblade techniques. After the tentative occurrence of small-scaled population movements associated with the conveyance of the earliest forms of pottery from Paleo-Honshu to the southern Paleo-SHK during the Late Glacial warming, hunter-gatherer populations expanded and settled down creating more sites in the Early Holocene. This was followed by repeated changes in technological and subsistence strategies. These rapid and extreme changes of adaptative strategies appear to have been stimulated by severe climate fluctuations across the subarctic and temperate climate boundary zones.

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Fukuda, M., Morisaki, K., Sato, H. (2022). Synthetic Perspective on Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherer Adaptations and Landscape Change in Northern Japan. In: Cassidy, J., Ponkratova, I., Fitzhugh, B. (eds) Maritime Prehistory of Northeast Asia. The Archaeology of Asia-Pacific Navigation, vol 6. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-1118-7_4

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