The earliest pottery of the eastern part of Asia: Similarities and differences

The earliest pottery of the eastern part of Asia: Similarities and differences

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The earliest pottery of the eastern part of Asia: Similarities and differences O.V. Yanshina Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of Russian Academy of Sciences, St.-Petersburg, 199034, University emb., 3, Russia

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history: Received 18 April 2016 Received in revised form 24 October 2016 Accepted 27 October 2016 Available online xxx

There are many reasons why the earliest pottery of East Asia is so interesting for researchers. One of them is that it is a unique source for reconstruction of cultural diversity within Late Pleistocene. According to Russian archaeologists, for such reconstruction it is necessary to find out how pots were made (clay paste composition, way of shaping, surface treatment, firing and decorating) and how pots looked. Based on this perspective it is possible to divide the earliest ceramic assemblages of East Asia into three groups. First of them include the Incipient Jomon ones, their differentia is plain (without rough surface treatment) pottery ornamented by hands (pinch, nail impression, clay application) and a comparatively high level of unification. Second group comprises Osipovka assemblages compactly located within the Low Amur river basin. They are quite polymorphous but have common distinctive traits such as grog temper, comb design of different pattern and combing surface treatment. The third group is the most extended and diverse. Its key feature is only cord surface treatment in a very special manner of rolling of a cord wrapped stick. Astoundingly, the assemblages with this trait occupy the territory from southernmost China to Transbaikalia (Studenoe-1, Ust-Karenga), and Middle Amur river basin (Gromatukha). So, it is possible to say they have Inner-Asia spatial distribution. Thus, we can see three different areas of spatial distribution of earliest ceramic assemblages within the eastern part of Asia. Tracking their Holocene fate, we can find confirmation of such conclusion and suppose that Sakhalin, North Hokkaido and Russia Maritime form the forth e non-ceramic e area in Late Pleistocene. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Archaeology Earliest pottery East Asia Comparative study

1. Introduction The earliest ceramics of East Asia have been a major object of archaeological research of the past twenty years. There are many reasons why it is so interesting for researchers, but the most important one is that these findings have greatly modified our previous belief about the Neolithic and the Paleolithic-Neolithic transition (Barnett and Hoopes, 1995; Jourdan and Zvelebil, 2009; Gibbs and Jourdan, 2013, 2016). So most of the main topics of current publications have been and remain the matters of chronology and the relation between pottery development and the environmental conditions, development of lithic industries and the general process of cultural transformation (Kajiwara and Kononenko, 1999; Keally et al., 2003; Wu and Zhao, 2003; Cohen, 2003, 2013; Cohen et al., 2016; Kuzmin and Shewkomud, 2003; Pearson, 2005, 2006; Kuzmin, 2006, 2010; 2015; Elston et al., 2011; Nakazawa et al., 2011; Dikshit and Hazarika, 2012; Shelach,

2012; Liu and Chen, 2012; Sato et al., 2015; Tsydenova and Piezonka, 2015; Buvit et al., 2016, etc.). But there are other interesting aspects of this subject as well. One of them is that the earliest ceramics are possible a unique source for the study of cultural diversity within the Late Pleistocene age. But, this subject draws little scientific attention and as a result the earliest pottery per se is almost absent in English-language publications: we know virtually nothing about its morphology, technology, context, etc. To be sure, these data can be obtained from national publications, though not always, but the access to them is very limited due to the linguistic and political barriers. There is also another side of this problem. We do not even know how suitable the earliest ceramics are to solve many tasks that are typical to ceramic studies of later epochs or whether they have any specificity as a source. Moreover, many key aspects of the origin of pottery cannot be comprehended without these data, for instance, whether this process was poly- or unicentric, what regions were primary centers of this process, how and why pottery was invented and so on. Only well documented ceramic collections can be used as

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an evidence base in such studies. This paper presents the results of the author's long-term research aimed at the reconstruction of different aspects of earliest pottery-making development in the Sea of Japan basin and on adjacent territories (Yanshina, 2008, 2011; 2014; Yanshina and Lapshina, 2008; Yanshina and Garkovik, 2009; Shewkomud and Yanshina, 2010b; Yanshina et al., 2012; Shewkomud and Yanshina, 2012; Yanshina, 2014; Razgildeeva et al., 2013; Yanshina and Kuzmin, 2010). Within the framework of the project, pottery collections from all regions of East Asia were compared tentatively, and results came out to be interesting. For example, it appears that by the end of Pleistocene several distinct potterymaking traditions had been already formed there, and each of them had its own more or less compact distribution area. But the most interesting fact is that these areas preserved their own peculiarity in later epochs as well. Some of the observations, which confirm these conclusions, will be given further. 2. Materials and methods In the first place, the comparative analysis of the early ceramic assemblages of East Asia definitely requires to synchronize the processes of their development in different regions. But this is a big problem. I know of only one attempt to solve it (Jordan and Zvelebil, 2009). The authors offer to separate a process of ceramic development in East Asia into four stages (see Fig. 1B). Their model is based mainly on the following two grounds: spatial dispersal of pottery and a measure of how deep pottery was embedded in the culture. However, it appears that the latter was evaluated in the model not on the ground of archaeological records directly but rather on the base of expectations originated from the anthropological theory. Virtually, archaeological data currently allow us to separate the East Asia pottery-making development into three stages only: (1) the formative period which is associated with the emergence of the first pottery; (2) the transitional period associated with the disappearance or transformation of ceramic traditions of a previous epoch; (3) the classic period of the Neolithic when ceramics appear everywhere (this epoch was formerly named by scholars as the early Neolithic) (see Fig. 1A). Various regions were differently engaged in this process: some of them progressed faster, others were left behind. Accordingly, in some of regions the boundaries of these stages could be somewhat displaced, but the main stages of pottery-making development are as given above. To substantiate this scheme, I need much more place, but if we compare my model with Jordan and Zvelebil's one, we can see that the first and the last stages of both models coincide roughly (see Fig. 1B), whereas the intermediate step differentiates our schemes. Nevertheless, this step is very elusive and short-term. In most of regions, especially northern ones, it coincides with a break in archaeological records, and the nature of the break is inexplicit. As there are too little data to understand what kinds of processes took place in East Asia during this time interval, I prefer to designate it as one transitional step. This paper draws attention to the sites of the formative period, which coincided with the last millenniums of terminal Pleistocene mon and Osipovka cultures epoch. Pottery collections of Incipient Jo from Japan (Keally et al., 2003; Kudo, 2004; Kobayashi, 2008a) and the Lower Amur River (Shewkomud and Yanshina, 2010a; Kuzmin, 2010; Kunikita et al., 2014) correspondingly can be undoubtedly referred to this period. In the Middle Amur and Transbaikalia ceramics emerged somewhat later but they also fall within this period (Vetrov and Kuzmin, 2007; Kuzmin and Nesterov, 2010; Razgildeeva et al., 2013). As for China, situation is more complex. According to the recent studies, pottery appeared in the South

China two-three thousand years earlier than elsewhere (Boaretto et al., 2009; Wu et al., 2012; Taylor and Bar-Yosef, 2014). But their dating still remains very controversial (Lu, 2010; Cohen, 2013; Kuzmin, 2013). Not being able to go into a more detailed analysis here, I will view the materials from South China as synchronous to the materials of the Lower Amur and Japan. Unfortunately, I had to exclude the earliest pottery from the North China from the analysis, because it still remains absolutely unclear to me and its age as well. All sites involved in this study are presented in Fig. 2. The sites of the Japanese archipelago and the Lower Amur are more researched. Many sites were discovered in these regions. Therefore, it is possible to define there well-established and stable ceramic traditions, outline their dynamics and trace their further destiny. It is interesting that these ceramic traditions lived on throughout the formative period and kept their wholeness and originality. It was only in the outset of Holocene that they started to disintegrate and be replaced by other ceramic traditions. In this respect, the materials from Transbaikalia, the Middle Amur and China are distinctly different. Ceramic complexes are few in number here, and relying on the available data, it is not possible to trace any lines of pottery-making development among them. The basic units of my work are ‘vessel e vessels assemblage (set of ceramics deposited at the same time) e ceramic tradition’. Here, ceramic tradition is understood as a set of potter's choices which lead to the production of pottery with a specific combination of stylistic and technical attributes. Stability and repetition of these attributes from vessel to vessel and from one complex to another served as a necessary prerequisite for singling out a ceramic tradition. The distinctive feature of this research is its immense data set. Pottery assemblages from various sites and regions are studied to a different degree and vary in their level of accessibility for analysis. So, when I compared them, I was forced to use the only available and reliable data. For this reason, a comprehensive description of each ceramic collections involved in this study was impossible, and a range of attributes used for distinguishing a different ceramic traditions, wasn't stable and depended on the characteristics of each individual case. It is a good thing that most of the Russian collections and many of the Japanese ones I could observe directly in the course of my project (these collection are marked as bold on Fig. 2). In other cases I had to rely on published data. The limited format of the journal's publication doesn't allow to present a detailed description of all ceramic collections and to offer their thorough evidence-based comparison. That's why the main focus of the paper will be on those attributes that form the specific nature of each pottery-making tradition and those ones that link different ceramic traditions to each other. 3. Results 3.1. The Lower Amur River Basin The most famous sites of Osipovka culture are Gasya (Okladnikov and Medvedev, 1983; Medvedev, 1995), Khummy (Lapshina, 1995, 1998; 1999) and Goncharka (Shewkomud, 1996, 1997). Materials from these sites were the first to be introduced to archaeological science and that's why they are more represented in English-language publications (Derevyanko and Medvedev, 1995, 2006; Zhushchikhovskaya, 1997, 2001; 2005; Kuzmin, 2003, etc). Over the recent years, however, a series of new sites have been excavated, and they allow to refine our knowledge about osipovsky pottery-making (Shewkomud and Kuzmin, 2009; Shewkomud and Yanshina, 2010a; 2012; Yanshina and Lapshina, 2008; Malyavin, 2008; Medvedev and Tsetlin, 2013; Fukuda et al., 2014). Attributes which form the particularity of osipovsky ceramic tradition

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Fig. 1. The schematic chronological sequence of the earliest pottery-making development in different regions of East Asia. Three stages of the process adopted in this paper (A) and their correlation with other models (B) are shown. The table includes mostly principal and C14 dated sites. Sites marked by asterisk (*) have no C14 dates. See C14 dates and more detailed information about the undated sites: 1 e Kanomata 2010; 2 e Keally et al., 2003; 3 e National Museum of Japanese History, 2009); 4 e Kobayashi, 2008b; 5 e Lapshina, 1999 6 e Shewkomud and Kuzmin, 2009; 7 e Medvedev, 2008a,b; 8 e Fukuda et al., 2014; 9 e Kunikita, 2014; Kunikita et al., 2013; 10 e Kuzmin and Nesterov, 2010; Kunikita et al., 2014; 11 e Vetrov and Kuzmin, 2007; 12 e Razgildeeva et al., 2013; 13 e Yanshina et al., 2012; 14 e Grishchenko, 2011; 15 e Batarshev, 2009; 16 e Boaretto et al., 2009; 17 e Wu et al., 2012; 18 e Lu, 2010; 19 e Taylor and Bar-Yosef, 2014; 20 e Hartz et al., 2012; 21 e Fukuda et al., 2011; 22 e Malyavin, 2008; 23 e Naganuma et al., 2005; 24 e Yanshina and Garkovik, 2009; 25 e Moreva and Kluev, 2015; 26 e Lbova and Zhambaltarova, 2009.

are as follows. Firstly, grog was commonly used as temper in a paste composition. It could be either dry clay or low temperature ceramics (Fig. 3, 13). Grog was either added alone or was mixed with rock. Another interesting temper was porous volcanic rocks like pumice (Fig. 3, 14). Secondly, intentional coating of vessels was a frequent practice. The outer surface of the pots was covered with a thick layer of clayish suspension. According to petrographic observation, it was made of special sorts of clay which had more silt grains and iron particles (Fig. 3, 15e16). Thirdly, pots of Osipovka culture were flat-based. Among them, there were also pots of restricted form, i.e. they had light bend of body contour or slightly marked undercuts (Fig. 4, 5e7). Fourthly, comb tools were widely used for regular technical scraping of vessels surface (Fig. 3, 8). Such treatment left straight parallel grooves on the walls, which didn't crisscross as a rule. Inside of the pots near the bottom and the mouth the grooves were horizontally-oriented, but in the middle part of the body they became more chaotic. The outer surfaces were rarely scraped, but if so, the grooves were oriented subvertically. Fifthly, the vessels of Osipovka culture were decorated only if their outer surfaces hadn't been scraped before, so we see here a

strict rule ‘either decorative design or technical treatment’. This is a good ground to think that decorative design and technical scraping of surfaces could be interchangeable, at least within osipovsky pottery-making. Sixthly, osipovsky decorative tradition is characterized by a high degree of polymorphism. Motifs and ornamentation techniques vary significantly from one vessel to another and from one complex to the next, making it difficult to mark any distinctive and stable combination which could characterize the tradition on the whole. We can see often horizontal and inclined comb zigzag made in rolling and stepping techniques (Fig. 4, 18, 21), horizontal belts of comb imprints (Fig. 4, 19) or relief lines made in additive manner (Fig. 4, 20), horizontal belts of shaped or comb stamps with scallop (Fig. 4, 22), etc. 3.2. The Middle Amur River Basin The earliest ceramic assemblages of the Middle Amur territory belong to Gromatukha culture. Its key site is Gromatukha (Okladnikov and Derevyanko, 1977; Shewkomud and Yanshina, 2012). As for other sites, only very few scientific works have been published up to now (see the only exception in: Nesterov, 2008). Radiocarbon dates indicate that Gromatukha culture and Osipovka

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also unregular and chaotic grooves made by comb scraping in the technique similar to the osipovsky one. Thirdly, the pottery of Gromatukha culture is characterized by multilayer design, i.e. over the striation created by rolling of cord wrapped sticks there were often one or two additional layers of marks which can be viewed as decorative design. Second layer consisted of dense zigzag lines imprinted by a comb like tools (including cord wrapped sticks) which were applied in a “stepping” fashion (Fig. 4, 13e14). Marks made by this technique were very unclear because they merged with the underlying layer of rolling grooves (Fig. 3, 4). As a rule, only the angles of zigzags were distinctly imprinted, whereas their middle parts could hardly be discerned. The third layer consisted of some single horizontal rows of nail-shaped incised lines or oval indentations. These rows were linked to each other by subvertical lines of the same kind (Fig. 4, 15). Fourthly, the forms of the vessels were open with conical contour, bottoms were flat and round. There is also an outlier group of pots within Gromatukha collection which could be probably associated with the late stage of Gromatukha culture. These pots have already lost most of cord impressions and horizontal zigzags, i.e. two lower layers of imprints, and they are characterized by a significant decreasing of plant fibers added as a linking layer (Fig. 4, 16e17). 3.3. The Middle Amur e the Lower Amur

Fig. 2. Position of the earliest pottery-bearing sites of East Asia which are compared in the research. Collections which I observed directly are marked as bold, the rest material I know from field reports and other publications. 1 e Zengpiyan; 2 e Yuchanyan; 3 e Xianrendong; 4 e Studenoye-1, Ust’-Menza-1; 5 e Ust’-Karenga; 6 e Gromatukha; 7 e Goncharka-1, Novotroitskoye-10, 14, 17, Amur-2, Osinovaya Rechka-10, 16; 8 e Gasya; 9 e Yamikhta; 10 e Khummi; 11 e Ustinovka-3; 12 e Chernigovka-Altynovka; 13 e Risovoye; 14 e Taiso-3; 15 e Oasa-1; 16 e Oday-Yamamoto, Kushibiki, Kamotai-2, Hachazawa-1; Omotedate, Kiwada; 17 e Hinata, 18 e Kubodera-Minami, Tozawa, Jin, Kosegasawa, Muroya, Himizo, Ichigoya, Unoki, Unoki-Minami, Monotoki; 19 e Kamino-1- 2, Sagamino-149, Hanamiyama, Kawashimadani, Terao, Nasunahara; 20 e Kamikuroiwa; 21 e Sankakuyama; 22 e Fukui, Senpukuji; 23 e Usirono, Mukaino A, B, Higashi-Ishikawa; 23 e Shimojuku E.

culture were contemporaneous (Kuzmin and Nesterov, 2010; Kunikita et al., 2014). The specificity of the gromatukhinsky pottery is characterized by the following. Firstly, there existed a special shaping technology which I contingently name as “sandwich-technology”. Such pottery is characterized by two layers of ceramic body and a layer of plant fiber in between. The thickness of both layers could be equal, but more often one of the them was thinner, and plant fibers penetrated the surface (Fig. 3, 6, 10e11). Secondly, the surface treatment of the gromatukhinsky vessels was also very peculiar. According to my observation and experimental simulation, in this case a cord wrapped stick was rolled on the outer surfaces of pots. Such manipulation left long verticallyoriented parallel grooves with slightly curved edges. Hand or stick, both wrapped by cord, were also used during such process to support the walls from the inside of pots. They also left horizontal parallel grooves on the inner surface but on the valley of these grooves one can see clear cord impression. Very often, these grooves covered not the entire inner surfaces but only some of its parts (Fig. 3, 5e6). Inside the pots, in a few cases we can observe

In the course of the comparison of osipovsky and gromatukhinsky ceramic traditions it is also important to emphasize their similarities. On the one hand, we have at least two cases when vessels with typical gromatukhinsky decorative elements were found on osipovsky sites. Such is the case with the materials from Gasya site. These are an archaeologically complete vessel from excavation pit 1 (Medvedev, 2008a: 159e160, fig. 2) and some scattered potsherds from excavation pit 2 (Medvedev, 2008b). All of them have such the features as subvertical cord grooves on their outer surface, large amount of plant fibers in the paste and some attributes of multilayered design including nail-shaped and zigzag imprints; all these features are not typical for osipovsky pottery. Another case concerns the materials from Goncharka site. Here, sherds which belong to a few typical osipovsky vessels were found within the same accumulation. There were also sherds of one pot with cord grooves among them (Shewkomud and Yanshina, 2012: 153e155, fig. 83). It seems, these two cases can be interpreted as evidence that there were some kinds of interactions between the people of Osipovka and Gromatukha cultures. On the other hand, there are also some features which are equally typical to both ceramic traditions (Fig. 4). These are a technical surfaces treatment (though it was realized in different ways), through holes around rims, notched rims, similar sets of tools (combs, cord wrapped sticks) and decorative motifs (horizontal and diagonal zigzags). All of the features create the impression of a stylistic similarity. But there are some reasons to suppose that at least some of these traits can also reflect the likeness of the ceramic traditions in technology. For examples, the through holes and the rim notching could prevent cracking of vessels during drying. It is also interesting to look at such a feature of the osipovsky vessels as a surface coating. It seems this practice has something in common with the “sandwichtechnology” of the gromatukhinsky vessels. This analogy is the most evident when the two layers of the walls of the latter have different thickness. In the cases the thin layers seems look very similar to the coating layers on the pots of Osipovkа culture. The only difference is a large amount of plant fibers in the gromatukhinsky sherds. Moreover, there are direct hints at the

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Fig. 3. Samples of different technical and stylistic characteristics: imprints on the vessel's surfaces (1e9); cross-section with grass liner in the center of sherds (10e11); thin-sections reflecting temper's grains (rock, grog and pumice e correspondingly 12e14) and coating layer (15e16). 1 e Ust’-Karenga-14, 3 e Ust’-Karenga-12; 7e11 e Gromatukha; 7e9 e Khummi; 6, 2, 12e16 e Goncharka-1.

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gromatukhinsky “sandwich-technology” among the osipovsky ceramics such as the scarce sherds with double-layered body (just below rims as a rule) and sometimes with small amount of grass inside. I noted earlier that regular surface ribbing could be determined by special forming methods such as a coating practice (Shewkomud and Yanshina, 2012: 177e182). Note that the striations were grooved on coating layers but not under the ones. However, cog tools as well as rolling of cord wrapped sticks in one direction were not suitable for coating or alignment of a coat. It is therefore possible that rough corrugation was meant to better the linkage between two clay layers. Perhaps, plant fiber filling between two clay layers might serve the same purpose. If so, then technical surface treatment should rather be interpreted as a technological similarity of both ceramic traditions, at least on their genesis stage. If it is the case, all the above-mentioned presumably technological traits which are characteristic to both ceramic traditions shouldn't be interpreted as a result of a mere borrowing or exchange between the ones. It is more likely that these traits go back to some kinds of “predecessor” technology or to a common set of technological ideas or opportunities of the time. But, afterwards, ceramic practices led to the formation of two distinct and independent traditions (Fig. 4). Another interesting fact, which can reflect possible resemblance between the two ceramic traditions on their genesis stage, is the specificity of the early samples of osipovsky pottery (Khummy, Goncharka, lower layer). Their feature is the absence of decorative design. Instead of the ornament the outer surfaces of pots were covered by elusive and unclear imprints (Fig. 3, 7, 9), and only sometimes it was possible to recognize the imprints of cord and cord wrapped stick among them (Yanshina and Lapshina, 2008; Shewkomud and Yanshina, 2012: fig. 99, 6e7). 3.4. Transbaikalia There are two clusters of sites in Transbaikalia which have Late Pleistocene ceramics. One of them is situated at the mouth of the River Karenga (Vetrov, 1985; Vetrov and Kuzmin, 2007; Hommel, 2012). The sites of this group are usually associated with Ust’Karenga culture, but it is worth noting that (as in the Gromatukha case) the look of this culture is defined only by three locales e Ust’Karenga 12, 14, 16, which actually make up one single settlement. Second cluster is situated in the south-western Transbaikalia at the confluence of Chikoi and Menza rivers (Konstantinov, 1994). Not so long ago it was proven that at least two multilayer settlements of this area (Studenoye-1, Ust-Menza-1) have ceramics of Late Pleistocene age (Razgildeeva et al., 2013). Ceramics of all these sites have two features which are similar to the gromatukhinsky pottery, these are peculiar cord striations on the outer surfaces of vessels and pointed-bottom shapes of pots. The former is more important for our correlation. The cord striations have subvertical orientation and cover all surfaces of pots from top to bottom being clearer in their upper part. Ceramics of Ust’-Karenga culture have other attributes which are characteristic to the gromatukhinsky pottery. They refer to the decoration of ceramic ware. First of all, it is the multilayer design, when abstract decorative ornament was put over the cord marks created during technical treatment (Fig. 3, 1, 3). However, it should be noted that ribs on the Ust’-Karenga pots were often less relief and therefore less noticeable under the layer of decorative imprints. Secondly, it is the decorative schemes. There are horizontal bands of horizontal dotted zigzags which one after another encircled vessels from mouth to bottom, and another series of single horizontal lines of comb impressions, plus very unusual diagonal zigzag lines (Fig. 4, 9e12). But the most indicative resemblance is observed

in the manner of decoration: stepping technique is done with a comb instrument which “skips” indentions in the central part of a “zigzag steps” (just like on gromatukhinsky sherds) (Fig. 3, 1), that is most likely due to the unusual (arch-like - ?) shape of the comb tool edge. Transbaikalian ceramics lack an explicit attributes of “sandwichtechnology” typical for Gromatukha culture, although such elements as two layers of vessel body and a coating layer can be observed here too (see Vetrov, 1985; Hommel, 2012), but they are characteristic of osipovsky sites as well. Another feature, which is common for both cultures (Ust’-Karenga and Osipovka), is the presence of regular horizontal grooves on the inner walls of vessels which remain after their scraping by a comb tool. Gromatukhinsky ceramics also feature such kind of treatment, but it is less emphatic and creates an impression of an unstable element in potterymaking tradition (Fig. 3, 6). It is interesting that there are no through holes on the pots from Ust’-Karenga sites. Materials from the Chikoi sites look simplified if compared to the Gromatukha and Ust’-Karenga pottery. They lack any decorative ornament and the ceramic wares were few in number. Materials from the Vitim sites, on the contrary, look more developed even on the background of Gromatukha ones: treatment of the surfaces is more careful, the shapes of vessels are more steady, ornaments are more complex and stable, walls of vessels are thinner, etc. Absence of large amount of plant fiber in the paste also creates an impression of a more developed technology. 3.5. China Chinese ceramics are least represented in the academic literature. Even Chinese issues feature little information on the subject. Today it is only possible to create a more or less complete picture about the materials from Xianrendong, Yuchanyan and Zengpiyan caves which are situated in the south of China. But even in this case one must rely only on а very scant data set which can be obtained in academic sources. For this reason, it is possible to draw a very sketchy comparison with the ceramics from other regions. A common trait of earliest ceramics of southern China is cord impressions. Judging by the description, drawings and photos, their character fully corresponds to that of the Gromatukha ware. On the outer surfaces of Chinese vessels long parallel grooves are oriented vertically and on the inner surface (at least in Xianrendong and Yuchanyan caves) they have horizontal orientation (Hill, 1995; MacNeish, 1996; MacNeish et al., 1998; Yuan, 2002; 162; Institute of Archaeology 2003). The similarity is reinforced by the results of the experiments conducted by Chinese specialists. They confirm that the technical treatment was done by way of rolling of a cord wrapped stick on the outer surfaces of the vessels (Lu, 2010: 31e35). Apart from this a small amount of sherds with traces of scraped striation was found in Xianrendong cave (Wu et al., 2012: fig. S1S5). Unfortunately, there is no detailed information about morphology of the grooves. Researchers believe that they could be created either with a bunch of grass or with a comb-like tool. It is assumed that these ceramics reflect the earliest stage of pottery mastering in China, but the status of the ceramics is not quite clear since the stratigraphy of Xinrendong is very complicated and the published data is very controversial (Hill, 1995; MacNeish, 1996; MacNeish et al., 1998). Perhaps, given the Amur material, this ceramics don't represent a separate complex, but are only a part of the same assemblage with the pots processed with a cord tool. Shaping technique of Chinese vessels is modeled differently by different scientists. Some of them think that the body was formed by slab building; others speak about coiling (Hill, 1995; MacNeish, 1996; MacNeish et al., 1998; Chi, 1999). However, it is interesting

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Fig. 4. Schematic representation of mainland ceramic traditions and assemblages. Shaded areas of pot's templates correspond to decorated zones, and dashed areas of the ones correspond to zones of technical design. 1e8, 24e27 e templates of vessels; 9e23, 28 e the most common patterns of design (1 e Studenoye-1; 2- Ust’-Karenga; 3e4 e Gromatukha; 5, 8 e Goncharka-1; 6 e Gasya; 7 e Novotroitskoye-10; 24 e Yuchanyan; 25e27 e Zengpiyan). Note: There are no detailed drawings of earliest ceramics from Yuchanyan and Xianrendong caves in literature, and only a few photos are published. So the patterns of their ornaments are not known. For example, through holes were mentioned by R. MacNeish (1996) in the description of Yuchanyan ceramics, but they are absent on photos of the pot which were published everywhere.

that Yuchanyan and Zengpiyan ware has evident features of twolayer bodies (Yuan, 2002: 162; Institute of Archaeology, 2003: 94, 111, 113). For example, there are signs of only outer surface layer breaking. And moreover, interface of two layers has marks of cord treatment like the marks on the outer surfaces (Lu, 2010: fig 4). It is also interesting to note that the chemical composition of clay from the outer and inner layers of Yuchanyan vessels turned out to be different (Yuan, 2002: 163). All of this correlates with Russian materials (Shewkomud and Yanshina, 2012: 177, 180e181, 216e220, see also fig. 78, 4; 108; 111). The shapes of Chinese vessels are not quite clear. The vessel from Yuchanyan is absolutely analogous to the ware from the sites of Transbaikalia and the Middle Amur (Yuan, 2002). Apparently, it is this shape that reflects the earliest stages of pottery-making development in the south of China. Later forms e elongated eggshaped vessels with necks and round bottoms (Fig. 4, 25) e are found in Xianrendong and Zengpiyan caves and specific only for China (Institute of Archaeology 2003: 136, 141 etc). There are two other features in vessel design which are important for comparison China and Russian sites. First of all, these are through holes along the mouth and the tradition of rim notching (Yuan, 2002: 162e163: MacNeish, 1999: 243e248). Secondly, it is the multilayered decor character, but it is only observed in the materials of Zengpiyan and Xianrendong caves. Decorative

ornament on the ware from these sites was performed by incising technique right on top of the cord grooves. The motif of such an ornament is a vertical zigzag (Institute of Archaeology (2003: 118) or a diagonal grid (Jiangxi Provincial Museum, 1976: 32). There is  design technique, but its motifs are not clear also an applique (Institute of Archaeology, 2003: 94). Unfortunately, all the Chinese ware with multilayered decoration may have early Holocene age, at least judging by the chronology of the Zengpiyan cave (Lu, 2010). In conclusion, it can be said that a whole series of technological/ stylistic attributes unites the early ceramics of southern China with the whole massive of Russian sites: it is the technical surface treatment, two-layer walls of vessels, through holes along the mouth and the tradition of rim deformation. At the same time a series of other features restricts the number of analogies. Such specific trait as a regular cord treatment of surfaces in a quite peculiar fashion in combination with the pointed bottom of vessels indicates Middle-Amur and Transbaikalian ceramic complexes as more similar to southern Chinese ware (Fig. 4). 3.6. Japan In Japan, there are multiple and diverse ceramic complexes (Kobayashi, 1994, 2008a; Imamura, 1996; Historical Museum of Yokohama city, 1996; Keally et al., 2003; Kudo, 2004; Habu, 2004;

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Kaner, 2009; National Museum of Japanese History, 2009: Kanomata, 2010; Morisaki and Sato, 2014). They cover all of the mon ceramic formative period and then gradually transform into Jo tradition. For this reason, there are some difficulties in their differentiation especially in the south of Japan. Without radiocarbon dating it is not always easy to discern between the sites of the formative and the transitional periods.  mon sites are very The earliest ceramic collections of Incipient Jo poor and it is difficult to single out their stable features. But it is evident that the ceramics from these collections had no surface design at all. Judging by the Odai-Yamamoto-1 materials, one can also say that the earliest vessels were mineral tempered, formed by coiling and flat-based (Miyake and Yamaguchi, 1979; Odai Yamamoto I Site Excavation Team, 1999). The existence of such the complexes was relatively shorttermed. Soon two ceramic traditions appeared in Japan. One of them is represented by the ceramics decorated by line-relief, another tradition e by a series of nail imprints. It is possible that the former appeared somewhat earlier. It is yet unclear how these two traditions correlated to each other at the genesis stage. But if we compare them at their already developed stage, they differ greatly, although they occupied the same territory. It is an interesting peculiarity of the Japanese archipelago which indicates perhaps some kind of complexity of Incipient Jomon society. One more original tradition emerged here much later and was associated with the southernmost point of Kyushu. So, these three ceramic traditions define the earliest phase of pottery-making of the Japanese archipelago islands (Fig. 5). As we don't have much space to dwell on their characteristics and interrelationship in more detail, we will point out only those features that make it possible to differentiate ceramic assemblages from the Incipient Jomon sites and the continental ones. The Incipient Jomon ceramic vessels are only characterized by smooth walls. By accident or not, the absence of technical treatment of its surfaces occurs with the absence of any traces of systematic coating or other attributes of multilayer forming techniques including “sandwich-technology”. Instead, starting with the earliest complexes, Japanese ware shows distinct signs of coiling with a very numerous traces of joining coils in a butt-to-butt manner. At the decoration stage no special tools were used by potters, only their hands and wooden sticks. But ornament was very developed and complicated. Vessels with nail imprints were poorer in this respect. They were decorated from top to bottom by horizontal rows of oblique nail imprints or nail-shaped marks (Fig. 5, 10). The latter could be tilted to the opposite sides in the neighboring rows; this is why this decoration reminded a dense and fine vertical zigzag (Fig. 5, 11). Ceramics decorated in line relief technique, on the contrary, were richer in ornament. A more frequent pattern in the north of Japan was more or less wide bands of relief horizontal lines (Fig. 5, 13) sometimes with blank gaps (Fig. 5, 17) or with gaps filled with complicated pattern. These were diagonal grid (Fig. 5, 14), horizontal zigzags (Fig. 5, 18), waving ornaments or just subvertical lines linking top and bottom of the gaps (Fig. 5, 16). On the vessels from southernmost sites such as Sankakuyama the band of relief lines were located mainly in the upper part of the body along the mouth and as a rule consisted of simple horizontal lines (Fig. 5, 21e23).  mon pottery is so distinctly different from Thus, the Incipient Jo the continental ceramics that no special proof is needed to certify that it has an exclusively original character (compare Figs. 4 and 5). However, one can still observe some parallels between them, mainly in the decoration motifs. For example, zigzag pattern is presented in all of the Amur sites and in the Ust’-Karenga site. Other motifs occur there as well, however, in individual cases. These are wave and diagonal grid (Ust’-Karenga), triangular

scallops and bands of relief lines (Goncharka), and two horizontal bands linking to each other with subvertical lines (Gromatukha, Novotroitskoye-17). For now, it is yet difficult to account for similarities between the ornament motifs of such distant territories. It is noteworthy that the earliest ceramics of Japan and China have the least number of similarities. It is impossible to trace any analogies between them, except for the pointed bottom of vessels. The situation changes only by the end of the formative period when some elements typical for the continental ceramic traditions appeared on the Incipient Jomon pottery, e.g. scraping of walls, cord ornamentation, rolling or rouletting technique of decoration etc. When researchers compare the earliest ceramics from mainland East Asia and Japan, they usually give as examples the finds from the Incipient Jomon sites Jin and Sagamino-149 (Dikshit and Hazarika, 2012; Chi, 1999; Medvedev, 2008a; etc). Two attributes likely attract their attention: through holes and scraping marks on the Jin sherds and indents along the mouth similar to through holes on the Sagamino sherds. As it was shown above, these attributes are really typical for most continental sites. But it is necessary to take into account two key points here. Firstly, two of these assemblages differ from each other and reflect two independent episodes in the Incipient Jomon course. Pottery from Sagamino-149 site likely demonstrates the earliest phase of creation of Incipient Jomon ceramics traditions, whereas pottery from Jin site appeared during its late phase. Secondly, two of these assemblages stand out against the main body of Incipient Jomon pottery and rather represent individual or non-repeating cases. However, these cases actually can reflect some kind of relations between mainland and archipelago, and this fact requires more attention of scholars. In conclusion, it is necessary to emphasize that the main pecumon pottery is its very developed liarity of the Incipient Jo appearance. Many parameters confirm this statement: the number of sites and ceramics, the diversity of vessel shapes and ornaments, their stability and sophistication, high degree of standardization, the developed methods of shaping, etc. The reasons for this prematureness are not known. It could be connected with favorable life conditions, high population density and the complexity of Incipient Jomon society. Further still, comparative analysis show that latter was most emphatically the leader in the pottery-making development of East Asia. 3.7. Hokkaido-Sakhalin-Maritime territory of Russia (Prymorye) Hokkaido, Sakhalin and Primorye form the northern coast of the Sea of Japan. Ceramics emerge here only at the begining of the third e classical Neolithic e period, i.e. much later and after the disappearance of ceramic traditions of the formative period. It is an interesting feature of the region because its population neighbored the people who followed Osipovsky and Incipient Jomon ceramic traditions more than three thousand years, but showed no special interest in ceramic ware. According to the current data, it is impossible to explain such a situation by any objective obstacles, e.g. specifics of climate or resources (Yanshina, 2014), so perhaps the reason is in cultural insularity and apartness of local populations. It is interesting that inhabitants of these three regions differed from their neighbors in other general features as well. In particular, they were slow to give up microblade technologies in favor of bifacial technique, in contrast to the neighboring ceramic-bearing peoples. Moreover, the formative period was associated with the flourishing of microblade industries on these territories, and comparative analysis shows that the inhabitants of Hokkaido, Sakhalin and Primorye constantly exchanged their technical achievements in this sphere (Vasil'yevsky et al., 1997; Vasilevsky, 2008). Naturally, the absence of ceramic ware (even in combination

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Fig. 5. Schematic representation of the Incipient Jomon ceramics. Three most numerous and most typical ceramic traditions of formative stage are shown. 1e9 e templates of vessels; 10e23 e the most common patterns of design. 1e2 e Taisho-3; 3 e Shimojuku E; 4 e Omotedate-1; 5 e Hanamiyama; 6 e Kubodera-Minami; 7e8 e Sankakuyama; 9 e Shigazegashira. Note: Japanese researchers named all line-relief decorated ware as ryusenmon. But latter can be clearly divided into two consequent groups. One of them is most numerous (B), and it appeared much earlier. Sites of this group were distributed through all Japanese islands excluding Hokkaido. Second group came on later (C) and its sites were spread only within southernmost part of Kyushu. Nail impressed ware called as tsumegatamon lasted the whole formative period and also changed over time. However, dynamic of their transformations is not clear. It is only obvious that at some point nail imprints were replaced by cord imprints, and it seems this process was synchronous to latest phase of ryusenmon ware.

with specific development trajectory of lithic industries) may seem insufficient to single out a special cultural area, because in Late Pleistocene ceramics were absent not only in the north of the Sea of Japan, but in many other regions of East Asia with microblade industries. However, in the case of Primorye, Sakhalin and Hokkaido we have direct proof that the inhabitants of these regions were in contact with each other and with other neighboring ceramicbearing communities. On the one hand, it is reflected in their obsidian connections (Kuzmin and Glascock, 2007; Vasilevsky, 2008), and on the other hand, by those few sites with ceramics of Late Pleistocene age which are presently known on Hokkaido. There are only three sites of the sort. One of them possibly reflects the earliest stage of the emergence of ceramics on the Japanese islands (Higashi-Rokugo 1e2) (Sugiura, 1987), but the low number of artifacts and the absence of precise dating don't make it possible to call this site a “good” source. The second site is also quite early (Taisho-3) (Yamahara, 2006). It is the northernmost point of the spread of ceramics decorated with nail impressions. Although the ware from this site has some peculiarities, it still belongs to this tradition. The third site reflects the transitional period or the latest stage of the formative one (Oasa-1) (National Museum of Japanese History, 2009) and is also the northernmost point of the spread of

ceramics which is known from the materials of Muroya cave. It might seem that these ceramics finds contradict our suppositions, but it is not so. Rather on the contrary, the inhabitants of Hokkaido refused the active use of ceramic ware in their household intentionally. It is no less important, that on the following stage of development, in the early Holocene, we also see the similarities between the cultures of Sakhalin, Primorye and Hokkaido (Yanshina et al., 2012; Grishchenko, 2011). It was manifested in the originality of local ceramic traditions, which especially singled out the territories of Sakhalin and Hokkaido from all the rest. 4. Conclusion Thus, we have come to several conclusions. 1. There are good grounds to suppose that three distinct ceramic traditions were formed in East Asia in the terminal Pleistocene mon and the age: the Lower Amur (or Osipovka), the Incipient Jo Transbaikalia e the Middle Amur. They are clearly different in the set of stylistic and technological characteristics and have their own more or less compact occupation area. The case of earliest ceramics of South China is less clear. Judging by some

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specific features, it is closer most of all to the ceramics of Trasbaikalia and the Middle Amur. All mainland ceramic complexes compared in this paper are united by a series of technological features (Fig. 4). It is, above all, the practice of two-layer building of vessel walls and their grooving; both of these traits might be interdependent. Other common features are through holes along the mouth of vessels and the practice of rim notching which could prevent cracking of vessels at the drying stage. Presently, it is impossible to connect the above listed attributes with the diffusion of one of the three ceramic traditions. It is more likely, that all continental complexes ascent to the same set of technological ideas which were embodied along different pathways in different regions. It is yet unclear whether these ideas were primarily formed as a “predecessor” tradition. Available materials do not answer this question. mon pottery clearly followed its own unique course. Incipient Jo But according to the current data, we can't give a final answer whether the origin of Incipient Jomon pottery was independent. The earliest examples of Incipient Jomon ceramics are not well known. So above mentioned question remains open. Finds such as the ones from Oday-Yamamoto-1 or Sagamino-149 leave any possibilities open. Besides, noteworthy is the similarity in ornament patterns observed mainly between Russian and Japanese ceramic assemblages (Figs. 4e5). It is yet difficult to judge what lies behind this stylistic similarity, but the answer to this question promises to be interesting. All ceramic-bearing sites of East Asia can be clustered also into two groups differ in term of the place which they take in the transition from the Neolithic to the Paleolithic. On the one side, we have ceramics in assemblages that are of fully Upper Paleolithic characters, and ceramics appeared to be the only Neolithic innovation here. This is a case of South China and Transbaikalia. On the other side, we see ceramics in assemblages with a number of other Neolithic innovations: bifacial points, axes and adzes, rejection of microblades, evidence for ritual behavior, etc. This is a case of Osipovka and Incipient Jomon sites which are look as already well-crystallized representatives of Neolithic culture. Whether coincidence or not, but formers sites are few in number and they have a little amount of sherds as well, while lattes, on the contrary, are numerous and have many ceramics in the assemblages. This observation gives a feeling of a certain covariation in the development of Osipovka and Incipient Jomon cultures. Another interesting result of this comparative research is the opening of great potential of East Asia earliest ceramics for the cultural diversity study. So, it became obvious through this research that at its dawn pottery manifested its main quality to be a mark of ethnic or cultural processes. Thus, the researchers now have acquired an excellent tool which allows them to search the origins of very diverse local Neolithic cultures among the terminal Pleistocene records.

MAE RAS e Peter the Great museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences. IAET SB RAS e Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences. BSC SB RAS e Buryatia Scientific Center, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences. Acknowledgement Author gratefully acknowledges my colleagues and friends for their assistance in this study. First of all, I would like to thank I.Y. Shewkomud, Onuki Shizuo, V.M. Vetrov, M.V. Konstantinov, I. Y.

Razgildeeva, A.V. Garkovik, A.P. Derevyanko, S.P. Nesterov, A.V. Tabarev, A.A. Vasilevsky, S.V. Grishchenko, O.A. Shubina, Masahiro Fukuda, Isao Usuki and many other who helped me to observe the primary materials from different sites of Russia and Japan. My colleagues I.V. Vasilieva, N.P. Salugina, Y.B. Tsetlin, N. Tsydenova, Y.V. Kuzmin, O. Moreva, A.A. Korobtsov, B.L. Zalishchak, S. Shinya, P. Hommel and many other are thanked for helpful discussion of the results, for valuable suggestion and for making the foreign papers available to me. My thanks go also to M.Konstantinova for her assistance in translating the Russian text of this article into English and to K. Morisaki for invitation to contribute to this volume. Financial assistance was provided by Russian Academy of Sciences and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. References Barnett, W., Hoppes, J., 1995. The shape of early pottery studies. In: Barnett, W., Hoppes, J. 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Further reading Fukuda, M., Kumaki, T., Kunikita, D., Onuki, S., 2015. Reexamination of tokoro-14-rui and tokoto-13-rui pottery. In: Fukuda, M. (Ed.), Archaeological Study on the Neolithization/jomonization Process in the northern Boundary Region of the Japanese Archipelago: Research of the Yubetsu-Ichikawa site. University of Tokyo, Tokoro Research Laboratory, Kasiwa, Chiba-Kitaki, Hokkaido, pp. 132e149.

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