The University of Arizona

Calibrated 14C Ages of Jomon Sites, NE Japan, and Their Significance

K Omoto, K Takeishi, S Nishida, J Fukui


The traditional archaeological chronology in the Japanese Islands during the Jomon period was essentially based on the relative age given to cord-impressed patterns marked on pottery, as well as the shape of the pottery and the thickness of the cultural layers that were excavated. We aimed to correlate the classical archaeological chronology with calibrated radiocarbon dates, to posit a new chronology for the Jomon period in northeastern Japan. We calibrated 80 accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C dates from NE Japan and reconstructed a chronological timetable for Hokkaido and the Tohoku District. We collected 43 samples from 5 shellmounds and 2 archaeological sites on Hokkaido Island and 4 shellmounds in the Tohoku District in order to determine the calibrated age of their sites. ΔR values used on Hokkaido Island and the Tohoku District were between 282 and -158 yr and between ±0 and -40 yr, respectively. The large ΔR value for the eastern part of Hokkaido Island indicates the influence of the Oyashio Current, while an anomalous ΔR value was obtained from northern Hokkaido Island. These figures show larger apparent ΔR values than those from southwest Japan (Nakamura et al. 2007). The calibrated Jomon period in the investigated area was from 2000 to 200 yr younger than the previous chronology. Calibrated 14C ages of the shellmounds investigated ranged between ~6000 and 3000 yr, correlating to the Early Jomon and Final Jomon periods as indicated by the former archaeological chronology of Honshu Island.

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