Bringing Home Animals: Final-Stage Jomon and Okhotsk Culture Food Technologies

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In this thesis, organic residues preserved in ancient pottery are used to reconstruct diversity and change in the foodways of Late Holocene hunter-gatherer communities in coastal northern Hokkaido (1750 BCE–1250 CE). The Late Holocene period of this region is very dynamic, and characterised by numerous migrations and cultural replacements. The research into these processes has generally focused on typological variation in pottery, a resource commonly used in this period. In particular, the Okhotsk Cultures (400–1100 CE) form a central focus of the thesis, and their complex animal cosmology, diverse subsistence and multifaceted household activities offer a rich context in which to examine changing foodways. The primary goal is understanding long-term and “macro-scale” patterns of continuity and change, and this also required improving the region’s existing chronology, which largely relies on pottery typologies rather than radiocarbon dating. Moreover, the central research question is whether the close association between use of pottery and the processing of aquatic resources, which was established by the Early Holocene, does in fact persist into these Late Holocene cultures. The overall results indicate that this older pattern was starting to break down, and that a range of new and more diverse cooking practices emerged. The thesis also demonstrates that these important shifts in cuisine can also be tied into much higher-resolution chronological frameworks using new methods and approaches. Finally, the “micro-scale” analysis of container function within a single household suggests that some sort of symbolic distinction was made between different sources of foods.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Stockholm University
  • Jordan, Peter, Supervisor
  • Isaksson, Sven, Supervisor, External person
  • Kato, Hirofumi, Co-supervisor, External person
Award date26-Oct-2020
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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