Lifeways of Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers in Japan: At the East Asian Archaeology Laboratory, students of this URAP analyze artifacts and faunal/floral remains excavated from Jomon period sites in Japan. Jomon is the name of a prehistoric hunter-gatherer culture in Japan, which lasted from approximately 16000 to 2300 years ago. Unlike many other hunter-gatherer cultures, the Jomon culture is characterized by the production of pottery. It is also characterized by large settlements, various kinds of ceremonial features, and long-distance trade. Since the Jomon culture shares a number of characteristics with so-called “complex” hunter-gatherer cultures in various parts of the world (such as the cultures of native people in California and the Northwest Coast of North America), studies of the lifeways of the Jomon people have been attracting attentions of researchers in the broader field of hunter-gatherer archaeology. Research apprentices will have an opportunity to receive hands-on training in the laboratory methods of pottery analysis, identification and quantification of faunal and floral remains (mainly fish bones and plant seeds), and map drafting.
Examination of Small Scale Food Production and Distribution Strategies: In this project, students have an opportunity to work on some of the food related issues faced by the contemporary society. As part of the umbrella project that examines the advantages of small scale food production and distribution mechanisms in terms of long-term sustainability, this URAP will explore re-localization of food production as a possible solution. In different parts of the world, quite a few number of urban farmers and homesteaders have attempted to bring food production and consumers together. While it has created alternative sources of food to some, there are great potentials as well as many unanswered questions. This project examines the possibility of transferring the practice of urban agriculture to a community that can barely support itself in terms of the very basic needs.