The Development of Pottery and Associated Technological Developments in Japan, Korea, and the Russian Far East

Simon Kaner, Yasuhiro Taniguchi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The earliest known dated ceramic containers are from East Asia. Calibrated radiocarbon dates for the Japanese archipelago and the Russian Far East indicate that pottery was being made at least 15,000 years ago, with even earlier claims for China, firmly in the late Pleistocene, prior to the climatic changes that marked the start of the Holocene. The greatest number of sites is from the Japanese archipelago, where a series of chronological phases have been identified in the development of ceramic technology and design,associated with particular pottery styles. This paper reviews the cultural contexts for the invention and subsequent innovation of ceramic containers in the region, and surveys recent advances in scientific method including the analysis of food residues. The approach adopted in this chapter argues that social agency and historical contingency played an important role in the development of ceramic technology, and that other factors, including climate change and the development of sedentary lifestyles constrained rather than determined the trajectory of ceramic innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of East and Southeast Asian Archaeology
EditorsJunko Habu, Peter V. Lape, John W. Olsen
Place of PublicationNew York
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4939-6521-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-4939-6519-9
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Earliest ceramic containers
  • Invention and innovation
  • Sedentism
  • Environmental change
  • Historical contingency
  • Social agency of technology
  • Pleistocene–Holocene transition

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