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a period of Japanese history corresponding to the Neolithic period (eighth millennium to the middle of the first millennium B.C.). The Jomon period was typified by settlements with seashell mounds and sunken pit dwellings; simple pit burials; distinctive implements made of stone (polished from the outset; chipped shouldered and polished rectangular axes, knives with a small “button”) and bone (fishhooks and harpoons); pottery with raised or impressed cord patterns (jomon in Japanese) or with fanciful linear designs, primarily of spiral curvilinear form; and female figurines. The economy was based on hunting, fishing, and gathering. Direct ties with the neighboring cultures of the Asian mainland have not been traced. The bearers of the Jomon culture had anthropological features resembling those of the Ainu.
There are more than 100 local and chronological subdivisions of the Jomon period, which are grouped in five main stages: the very early Jomon (eighth-fifth millennia B.C. according to radiocarbon dating), early Jomon (fourth millennium B.C.), middle Jomon (third millennium B.C.), late Jomon (second millennium B.C.), and very late Jomon (first half of the first millennium B.C.; in northern Japan the very late Jomon period ended by the beginning of the Common Era).
REFERENCESVorob’ev, M. V. Drevniaia Iaponiia. Istoriko-arkheologicheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1958.
Esaka, T.Dzemon bunka (Sensi dzidai), vol. 2. Tokyo, 1957.
M. V. VOROB’EV