Ariets Research Blog

March 13, 2009

Metrical and Non-Metrical Analyses of Jomon Crania from Eastern Japan

Filed under: Asia, Physical anthropology — Ariets @ 8:03 pm

Here I present article from Bulletin no 27 “Prehistoric gather-hunters in Japan: New research methods”, on Jomon period crania from Japan, by Yukio Dodo.

In Japan, many skeletal remains have been excavated from Jomon sites. Among these, the Tsukumo site in Okayama Prefecture and the Yoshiko site in Aichi Prefecture, both in western Japan, have been particularly rich sources of material (Fig. 1). In other regions, such as Kyushu in the south, the centrally located Kanto area, and Tohoku and Hokkaido in the north, a considerable number of Jomon skeletons have also been collected from rather small shell-mounds. In age, most of these sites range from the Middle phase (ca. third millennium B.C.) to the Final phase (ca. first millennium B.C.) of the Jomon period.

Detailed craniological data based on a large series of materials have so far been presented only on the Tsukumo and Yoshiko skulls of both sexes (Kiyono and Miyamoto, 1926; Kintaka, 1928) and on southern Kanto skulls of the male sex (Suzuki, 1969). Using the craniometric data of these three Jomon series along with data on three modern Japanese series, Yamaguchi (1982) found that the prehistoric Jomon population was morphologically nearly as homogeneous as the present-day Japanese population but that it differed widely in many distinctive osteological features from the modern Japanese.  It was not until quite recently that Jomon skeletons from eastern Japan, comprising the Tohoku and Hokkaido regions, were brought in to the investigation of regional differences in the physical characteristics of the widespread Jomon Age population. Comparing the metric data on 29 male Jomon crania from the Tohoku district with data on the more southerly Tsukumo, Yoshiko, and Kanto Jomon cranial series, the present author concluded that the male crania of the Tohoku Jomon people were metrically very akin to those of the Kanto Jomon (Dodo, 1982). Moreover, the characteristics of Jomon skeletal remains from southern Hokkaido have been postulated to be substantially the same as those of the Jomon in Honshu (Yamaguchi, 1981b; Mitsuhashi, 1982).  This paper, concerned chiefly with Jomon skulls from the Tohoku district and southern Hokkaido, consists of two parts; the first dealing with the metrical aspects of the crania and the second dealing with their non-metrical aspects.

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More here, and here full bulletin.

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