Reconsideration of the Use of Salt in the Jōmon Period

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Pottery salt production, which appears in the Late Jōmon period, has been studied in terms of its exchange networks and production processes as well as the typology of salt-making pottery. Jōmon salt-making pottery is found on the Pacific coast of eastern Honshū Island. The many sites which contain salt-making pottery sherds are widely distributed through the Kantō Plain, even in inland areas. In most previous studies, the use of salt in the region has been assumed to be related to the preservation of marine products because diverse fishing tools have been uncovered from the southern coast of Lake Kasumigaura, the central area of salt production in the Kantō Plain. However, this scenario cannot explain the wide distribution of salt pottery in the Kantō Plain. As salt production was performed in various places over a wide area, in order to interpret the development of saltmaking in the Jōmon period, it is important to compare Jōmon salt production with other examples of salt production. In this paper, using some ethnographic examples from the New Guinea highlands, I will try to clarify the use of salt, and the reason why salt production developed in the Late Jōmon period.


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