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Surviving a changing climate during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in Northeast Asia

Time Thursday 25 November, 2021 at 13:00 - 15:00
Place Online in Zoom

The Research Seminar Series in Archaeology and Environmental archaeology invites you to a seminar with Peter Jordan, Lund University, "Surviving Turbulent Times: Climate Change, Cultural Connections and Shifting Adaptations in Hokkaido-Sakhalin during the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition of Northeast Asia".


The Pleistocene-Holocene transition brought turbulent times to human societies confronted by rapid climatic fluctuations, shifts in biogeographic zones and the flooding of continental shelves. While the disappearance of Doggerland’s inhabited landscapes under the grey waters of the North Sea marks the culmination of these changes for European Archaeologists, the aim in this lecture is to draw parallels with Northeast Asia, where the islands of Hokkaido and Sakhalin once formed a major terrestrial extension of the vast Eurasian landmass. During the LGM, this terrestrial corridor offered an “escape route” from the harsh glacial conditions of Siberia, but as temperatures gradually warmed, prehistoric societies faced a growing subsistence crisis as landscapes flooded and faunal resources declined. The goal is to understand how these societies responded to a warming – yet frequently unstable – climate in this ever-shrinking terrestrial world.

Late Glacial warming witnessed to a brief expansion of Incipient Jōmon traditions into Hokkaido, a process terminated by the onset of the Younger Dryas. As Holocene warming gathered pace, a broader suite of innovations including house pits, wild plant use and pottery traditions expanded across Sakhalin and Hokkaido. The onset of the 8.2 cal. BP cold event partly reversed this trend, and brought Siberian lithic traditions (Blade Arrow Culture) back down through Sakhalin and into Hokkaido, signalling the temporary return to more mobile sub-arctic lifeways and a growing reliance on costal resources. Understanding human- and community-scale responses to these major shifts is challenging because the region’s acidic soils mean that bone material is not preserved, other than at a few shell-midden sites in Hokkaido. At the same time, the region’s extended hunter-gatherer pottery traditions offer rich scope for undertaking biomolecular reconstruction of changing cooking practices across major cultural and environmental transitions. The lecture reports recent results, examines remaining gaps in knowledge, and presents ideas for future research.

Online seminar in Zoom

This seminar will be held online in Zoom. Link for paticipation is sent via email to all employees within the subject well in advance of the seminar. If you do not have a participant link, contact the seminar organizers below.

About the seminar series

The Research Seminar Series in Archaeology and Environmental Archaeology presents and discusses current research in archaeology and environmental archaeology.
See more upcoming seminars in the series

Event type: Seminar
Malcolm Christopher Lillie
Read about Malcolm Christopher Lillie