To clarify materials and weaving technique, 1146 baskets excavated from 123 archaeological sites of the Jomon to the Muromachi periods are complied. No baskets were made of straw, and it was unknown when straw was began to be used for basket weaving. Baskets made of bamboos increased around the Kofun period, but it did not lead to any drastic change in basket making after this period. Regional difference in basket materials clearly existed, bamboos in the Tohoku and Kanto districts and plants other than bamboos in the Hokuriku district. Baskets were mostly woven by various wickerwork except for the Hokuriku district.
We reconstructed the palaeo-environmental changes during the Last Glacial Stage from fossil pollen and wood profiles and radiocarbon dates of the deposits along the Hanamuro River, Ibaraki Prefecture, eastern Japan. The fossil pollen and wood profiles indicated that, on the upland, 1) in ca. >50–43 ka, a cool temperate deciduous broad-leaved forest was distributed in a somewhat warm climate, 2) in ca. 38–35 ka, a mixed forest of cooltemperate deciduous broad-leaved trees and boreal conifers dominated in a cool climate, and 3) in ca. 35–17 ka, a boreal coniferous forest was distributed in a cold climate. On gentle slopes and valley floors, a swamp forest consisting of Alnus and Salix developed in ca. >50–24 ka. In ca. 24–17 ka, a grassland expanded on the peat land. Additionally, we investigated the palaeo-ecology of an extinct Hemiptelea mikii Minaki et al. It grew around this region until ca. 43–38 ka and seemed to have died out, due to the cold and dry conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum. It is highly possible that its habitat was influenced by the soil disturbance and the fluctuation of ground-water level.
Unlike the studies on Jomon pottery, much fewer scientific approaches have been conducted to the residues on Yayoi pottery. Charred remains on pottery plays an important role in the reconstruction of edible plant use in the prehistoric time. This paper aims at investigating the origin of charred remains on the Yayoi pottery excavated from the Joto site in Okayama prefecture. To clarify cooking traces on the pottery, we used three methods, an observation of charred remains by scanning electron microscopy, a carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic analysis, and a starch residue analysis. We found identifiable features of rice on the broken grains that had not fully removed bran. Also the ratios of stable isotope showed that there is no contribution of C4 plants. The starch grains extracted from the sampled pottery suggested that the residues might contain other starchy foods, although their association with the pottery could not be confirmed. Though some problems remained to be solved, the comprehensive method used in this paper can promote discussion of the edible plant use in the Yayoi period, which has not been verified from botanical perspectives yet.