Early agriculture in Japan

Simon Kaner, Ken'ichi Yano

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter surveys the nature of early agricultural communities, focusing on archaeological evidence for the social life of early farmers in different parts of the world. In many ways early agricultural societies are extremely diverse, but underlying this range of cultural forms are striking similarities, suggesting that agriculture tended to constrain and direct social behaviour along certain lines. The chapter focuses on archaeological evidence for, first, the nature of agricultural practice, and second, forms and scales of collective social action, from residential families to work parties, ritual congregations and broader networks. It also presents three pairs of case studies, each comprising a major centre of agricultural origin involving domestication of key cereal crops and an adjacent region of agricultural spread, West Asia and Europe, China and Korea and Mesoamerica and the Southwest. Archaeobotanical evidence indicates that cultivation took place in a range of lowland and upland contexts, using high-water-table, floodwater, mesa top run-off, or rain-fed techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge World History
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 2: A World with Agriculture, 12,000 BCE–500 CE
EditorsGraeme Barker, Candice Goucher
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780511978807
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

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