Phase 2: Theme C - Innovations in complex social networks: Project C005|
Ceramics before farming: prehistoric pottery dispersals in Northeast Asia
SUPERVISOR: - Jordan
Peter Jordan (Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen )
Recent CECD research (Jordan and Zvelebil 2009) has highlighted the very early invention and widespread use of pottery by preceding hunter-gatherer societies, many millennia before the transition to agriculture, although these earlier phases of ceramic innovation and dispersal remain poorly-researched.
This project builds directly on the insights and research hyptheses generated by CECD Project 39, and will bring together international specialists to investigate how and why ceramic container technology emerged as an ‘embedded’ social tradition in the hunter-gatherer societies of Northeast Asia at the end of the Pleistocene, was practised through chaotic periods of climate change during the Pleistocene/Holocene transition, and eventually dispersed out of core centres of innovation in Japan and the Russian Far East and entered the extended island chains of the North Pacific/Sea of Okhotsk. Designed as a regional pilot study, the project aims to establish the intellectual and logistical foundations for a more comprehensive study of early pottery innovations and dispersals across Northern Eurasia.
Jordan, P. and Zvelebil, M. (eds.) (2009) Ceramics before Farming: the Dispersal of Pottery among Prehistoric Eurasian Hunter-Gatherers. London: University College London Institute of Archaeology Publications (Left Coast Press)
FINAL PROJECT REPORT:
Project funding from the UK Leverhulme Trust is now in hand for a three-year pilot project, which will start in Spring 2011, with applications for further funding to expand the scope of the research planned for the near future. The theoretical framework for the research draws inspiration from culture-evolutionary studies, including (a) Human Behavioural Ecology, which will be used to establish hypotheses about the costs and benefits associated with the adoption of early pottery in hunter-gatherer contexts; and (b) will draw on Cultural Transmission Theory to examine broader-scale patterns in ceramic innocations and long-range dispersals.