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Permanent Settlements and the Creation of Pottery

"Permanent Settlements and the Creation of Pottery"

Heiseikan Japanese Archaeology Gallery  September 7, 2021 (Tue) - February 27, 2022 (Sun)

Deep Pot, Found in Niigata City, Niigata, Jōmon period, 4000–3000 BC (Gift of Mr. Uehara Kōshirō)

Rising sea levels formed the Japanese islands when the ice age ended about 13,000 years ago. In response to their changing environment, people began using the bow and arrow for hunting, invented pottery, and began living in permanent settlements. This was the beginning of Japan’s Neolithic era, which lasted for approximately 10,000 years. Although farming and the rearing of livestock usually began during this era in other societies, life in Japan continued to be centered on foraging, fishing, and hunting.

Pottery from this era was decorated with patterns made by impressing cords into the clay before firing, and is named Jomon (cord-marked) pottery. Japan’s Neolithic era is called the Jomon period in reference to this distinctive pottery. The invention of pottery for cooking extended the range of edible foods, made certain foods more digestible, and helped to eliminate harmful bacteria. Jomon pottery was also used for ceremonies and burial rites, playing an important role in culture and society.

This section shows how pottery changed and increased in variety during the Jomon period. Deep bowls for cooking were the earliest vessels, with shallow bowls for serving food appearing later, followed by pots and spouted vessel for storage.

Major Work(s) on Exhibit 6 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
Highlight Deep Bowls Found at Hanamiyama Site, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Jomon period, 11,000-7,000 BC Lent by the Yokohama City Board of Education, Kanagawa
Highlight Important Cultural Property Deep Bowl Found at Natsushima Shell Mound, Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Jomon period, 7,000-4,000 BC Lent by the Meiji University Museum, Tokyo
Highlight Deep Pot Found in Niigata City, Niigata Jōmon period, 4,000–3,000 BC Gift of Mr. Uehara Kōshirō, J-39544
Highlight Important Cultural Property Deep Bowls Excavated at Habitation Site 1, Takikubo Site, Kokubunji-shi, Tokyo Jomon period, 3000-2000 BC Lent by Musashi Kokubunji, Tokyo
Highlight Irregularly-Shaped Vessel with a Spout Found in Shichinohe Town, Aomori Jōmon period, 2,000–1,000 BC Private collection
Highlight Deep Pot Found at Shinpukuji Shell Mound, Saitama Jōmon period, 1000-400 BC J-23511