Social change at the end of the Middle Jomon: a perspective from resilience theory
Keywords:Jōmon, social change, resilience theory, hunter-gatherers, prehistory
It is widely known that social change occurred in the end of the Middle Jōmon, which can be seen in archaeological evidence such as settlements, pottery types, and so on. Most archaeologists have recognised this change as a result of climate change. It is said that a cooling trend in this period had a great influence on food acquisition and caused low chestnut harvests, which was a staple. However, the notion that climate was the critical factor is not sufficient to explain the social change that occurred at the end of the Middle Jōmon, because similar types of society existed after this cooling trend, although the population numbers decreased. It is also important to consider human adaptation to the environment, especially in the case of hunter-gatherer societies. In this paper, I will describe the outline of the arguments supporting the environment theory among Japanese archaeologists, and explore how Jōmon people overcame this period and constructed a new society, based on resilience theory.
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