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Radiocarbon dates and archaeology of the late Pleistocene in the Japanese Islands.

Akira Ono, Hiroyuki Sato, Takashi Tsutsumi, Yuichiro Kudo


We discuss the radiocarbon chronology of Late Pleistocene archaeology in the Japanese islands. In sum, 429 samples from more than 100 archaeological sites were compiled and then divided into three periods and four stages. The Early Upper Paleolithic, characterized by Trapezoid industries, lasted during approximately 34-26 ka. The Late Upper Paleolithic period includes both the backed-blade stage and point-tool stage, the latter appearing chronologically later than the former. This stage covers approximately 25-15 ka. The Final Upper Paleolithic and Incipient Jomon are distinguished by the appearance of microblade industries and the emergence of pottery at the end of this period. This period covers approximately 14-12 ka. The microblade tradition, in the broadest sense, is strongly connected to the background of peopling of the New World. New data on the transitional stage from the Middle to the Upper Paleolithic are also discussed in regards to three archaeological sites. Issues on the application of the (super 14) C calibration to the whole Japanese Upper Paleolithic are critically evaluated.


Nagano Japan;Nojiri Lake;Tanega shima;Kagoshima Japan;Kyushu;Ryukyu Islands;Honshu;artifacts;archaeology;archaeological sites;Far East;Japan;Hokkaido;Pleistocene;upper Pleistocene;Asia;Cenozoic;Quaternary;C 14;carbon;isotopes;radioactive isotopes;absolute age

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