Universiteit Leiden

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Unveiling the Early Use of Pottery in East Asia

Wednesday 21 November 2018
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden

The invention of pottery or clay vessels is one of humanity’s most important and enduring innovations, a milestone in human achievement that paved the way for sophisticated cooking, storage and many other technologies. Pottery was invented in East Asia, where multiple and separate origins for pottery have been proposed, including southern China, Russian Far East and the Japanese archipelago. In spite of the scientific importance and intellectual desire, almost nothing had been known about how early pottery were used or what they were used for, even a decade ago.

Very recently, organic residue analysis of pottery has started to shed new light on such early pottery use, providing direct evidence of food or natural resources processed in these pots. Here in this talk, the presenter summarize recent organic residue analysis studies by himself and colleagues, working on early pottery in East Asia, such as in Japan, Korea and China. These studies have revealed not only the initial use of pottery in northeast Asia but also the contrasting pattern of pottery use between northeast Asia and mid-south China during early Holocene.

About the speaker

Dr. Shinya Shoda is Senior Researcher at Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. Among his main research interests are the beginning of agriculture and metallurgy in Northeast Asia, pottery, metal and lithic technology, and innovations in diet and cooking technology. Dr. Shoda gained biochemical expertise applied to archaeology through a global Marie Slodowska-Curie fellowship and since then he carries out collaborative research between Northeast Asia and Europe alongside conducting two funde research projects form the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science: EXploring PotteRy usE acroSS the JOmon-Yayoi transition (EXPRESSO; 2017-2020) and Identifying Archaeo-Chemical evidence for Dairy production in ancient Japan ( ArCh-DJ; 2017-18).

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