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Humanities LibreTexts

4.8: Late Jomon (1500 BCE – 300 BCE)

  • Page ID
    64626
  • The middle and late Jomon period in Japan brought about more significant expansion of settlements and new techniques with wet rice farming and bronze metallurgy. Trees were plentiful in the surrounding areas, and the Jomon people became skilled woodworkers, building permanent settlements using wood from the plentiful and long-lasting chestnut trees. The wooden frame houses they constructed with wood techniques used the mortise and tenon joint construction, similar to modern methods. They were also master carvers and used wood for canoes and storage pits for food.

    The typical Jomon house (4.29) was a large pit with a central upright pillar surrounded by supporting pillars to hold a thatched roof. Thatched roofs made from dry straw, reed, or other vegetation helping shed water off the roof. Early homes were round in nature, similar to the Native American teepee design with one central pole for center support surrounded by other supporting poles. As innovation in housing architecture advanced, so did the Jomon houses. They evolved into square or rectangular shapes with a roof support system of posts. The earthen floor was tamped into a hard surface and usually covered with woven rugs. Indoor fire pits were common for cooking and warmth.

    READING: Jomon Culture

    4.29 Jomon house

    The Sannai-Murayama site was a long-term city center. It hosted a large building three floors high and is considered an engineering feat for this civilization. The structure (4.31) is constructed from ancient chestnut trees, which grow tall and straight, quite large in diameter. The holes for the uprights from the massive tree trunks were more than 6 meters across and 2 meters deep.

    Sannai-Murayama building
    4.30 Sannai-Murayama building